Sad Day, But Think Big Picture

12/17/2010 9:48:18 PM The sacking of a savior?... yes.

Unfair to Ralph Friedgen for all he has done for this program?... yes.

Embarrassing, to a point, by 'firing' the ACC Coach of the Year?... yes.

Did Kevin Anderson have a choice??  Not really.

If Anderson, who inherited Fridge, was not confident enough in his head coach to give him a 3 year extension, this move HAD to be made.  As tough as it is and as unfair as it is, it had to be done.

Going 8-4 after last year's debacle was great.  The future, as long as players don't leave, is bright.  BUT WE FAILED TO SELL OUT A NIGHT GAME AGAINST A TOP OPPONENT ON NATIONAL TV PLAYING FOR A SPOT IN THE ACC TITLE GAME.  Much of it is as simple as that. 

Fridge has done an amazing job and will go down as one of the best coaches in the history of the University, but the support was downright embarrassing.  Every other sports team in the area, except the Capitals, sucks.  You can't get 50,000 people to attend 7 games in 3 months??  That's the problem. 

Don't forget many of us were bitching and moaning about the coaching of this team through the Miami game and that was 10 games into the season.  They played too conservative, they left points on the field and, more importantly, wins out there too.  In 2001, Fridge had an aggressive team that played to win.  The past 5 years, they would take an early lead and try and hold on the rest of the way.  It's infuriating to watch and you don't think the boosters and new AD didn't notice that???

Anderson was put in a horrible position. He comes in with a Coach-in-waiting contract already set up for a team that went 2-10.  He saw us have a very good season, then fall to the Military Bowl due to what people think is lack of support.  Never mind the last 2 bowl games were in Boise and San Francisco.  He also saw us not sell out one game all year long. 

I'm sure Anderson was going to give Fridge another year and see what happened.  Maybe go with Franklin if the team won 9+ games, or maybe extend Fridge if they were even better.  I'm sure he was willing to eat the million bucks if it helped the program.  But when Franklin decided to leave, Anderson really had no choice.  They were going to take a recruiting hit anyway with Franklin leaving and there was no way he was going to have a lame-duck coach. 

Therefore he had 2 choices:

Either extend Fridge and hope he hires some good assistants, or bite the bullet and make a major change now.  Again, not fair to Fridge, but it was probably the right call if Anderson believes that Fridge is not the guy for the next 5+ years.

He is willing to take the bad PR hit now and hope his gamble pays off.  That's what we all hope at this point.  There is no way you can spin it now to make us look good, but if we hire Mike Leach and he comes in with a wild new offense that kids will want to play in and wins games, then in a couple years, you bring Fridge back and induct him into the Hall of Fame, put his name up at Byrd and all is well.

So, say Leach is the guy.  You think we'll be a bad team??  No way.  This guy took Texas Tech to the mountain top.  They were one win away from the National Title game.  Yes, he has had some issues, but I would hope he's learned a lesson.  You think kids will tell him no when he comes to their homes and talks about Michael Crabtree and his high powered offense?? 

He goes out and gets a Defensive Coordinator with local ties and let the fun begin.  This could be a great thing.   It could also blow up in our face and be a disaster.  That's what sports is all about though. 

Say Leach comes in, builds us up and then bolts in 3-4 years.  Okay, we are looking for another coach, but we have been built up.  It becomes easier to find a good replacement.

If Anderson has some alliance with Ty Willingham, it will be an interesting hire.  I'm not a fan of Ty and hope that does not happen, but this is Anderson's program now.  He is the AD.  He makes the calls.  It's too early to judge him.  He was put in a really tough position and he's doing what he thinks is best for the long term success of the football program.  He is doing what he thinks is best to fill that stadium and put us on the map, so we aren't watching the games on every freakin week.

I appreciate all Ralph has done for the program.  I wish he could go out on his own terms, he deserves it.  But regardless of how this all ends, I will always be a huge fan of Ralph Friedgen for being a caring head coach who really loved his kids.  He took every loss just as bad or worse as us fans/alums could have taken them.  I'm sure he lost tons of hours of sleep and years off of his life working for this program and I hope he will take his place among the best we've ever had coaching our football program.  I'll fondly remember him dancing in the lockeroom with the kids after big wins, leading the fight song with the band after victories, and giving us 7 bowl games to watch when we went so long without it.  I wish it could have ended another way, but we have to move on and I truly think, in the big picture, it's the right move to make.
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