Advertisement

After a day in the media, Terps gear for 2002 season

Kelley clears first hurdle

Kelley clears first hurdle

August 10, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Gloria Friedgen is on a rampage.

While catching up on her favorite college football team, she was in disbelief. The University of Maryland starts out as No. 20 in the ESPN Coaches Poll and is picked to finish third in this year's Atlantic Coast Conference race by most publications.

The only calming influence is her inside information. No, she isn't related to Martha Stewart. Instead, she's married to the Terps' head coach Ralph Friedgen, who knows a thing or two about assessing the validity of predictions.

"I think they all aggravates my wife more than me," said Friedgen Friday during Maryland's annual media day press conference. "Those guys picked us to finish seventh or eighth in the conference last year. It's just to sell magazines."

Advertisement

If Friedgen would have believed what he read last year, this season would be another rung along the rebuilding ladder. Instead, he was able to convince the Terps that they could win and it translated into an overall record of 10-2, the school's first ACC championship in 16 years, an invitation to play in the Orange Bowl and a national coach of the year honor for the first-year coach.

The predicting eight ball was a little off when it came to the Terps in 2001. And now that Maryland is the defending champions, the question is are prognosticators underestimating the Terps again or has success overinflated Maryland's expectations.

"Last year, we didn't have high expectations," Friedgen said. "We were only picked to win five or six games. It's good that they are rising. If you want to have a quality program, you want to have them high. But if you want to be a success, you still have to take everything one game at a time."

Florida State and North Carolina State have been picked to finish ahead of the Terps this season - both have to come through Byrd Stadium to knock off the defending champs. The Seminoles and the Wolfpack are just two of the candidates who could win the ACC title.

"The conference will be tough ... anyone can win it," Friedgen said. "You couldn't say that a couple of years ago. Florida State and North Carolina State will be tough but North Carolina will be good and so will Georgia Tech ... I know a lot of those guys. Virginia will be young and Wake Forest ... Jim Grobe does a great job and has everybody back. They all have a chance to win the title and that's the way it should be."

But despite the loss of 10 starters and a younger overall team, especially on the defensive side, Friedgen is counting on the same formula to get the Terps through the season. It doesn't hurt having two ACC mainstays - tailback Bruce Perry and linebacker E.J. Henderson, the defensive player of the year - back, but Friedgen is wants a carryover of the ties that bound last year's whole package together.

"Last year, everyone was pulling for a common goal," Friedgen said. "No one was worried about the number of passes they caught or how many times they carried the ball. They worked together. If you unify for a common cause, in business or football or basketball, you are going to be successful. We know we can win now. Last year, we didn't have it, this year we do. If that comes with expectations, I'll take it."

NOTES - North Hagerstown graduate Hunter Cross is a red-shirt junior this season and will be working with the third-string offense. "I just want to get out there and be positive and take what reps I get." ... Williamsport graduate Ryan McDonald transferred from Division II Concord College in the West Virginia Conference and is a redshirt for the season. The Terps have moved him from defensive end and are working him as a center ... Maryland opens full-scale practice today, but will start without Perry and Henderson, who are still coming back from off-season surgery. Both hope to start practicing on Monday ... A slimmer, trimmer Friedgen stood behind the podium at media day. "I'm down 39 (pounds) and I'm pushing 40 hard," he said. ... Friedgen said he doesn't have a starting quarterback yet, but is encouraged and amazed by the comeback of sophomore Chris Kelley from injury on his ACL from an injury he sustained during the Maryland spring game. "I like to have him with his fight and competitiveness on this team. People who work hard have good things happen to them."

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|