Scare tactics

Friedgen makes Terps watch the horror flick

Friedgen makes Terps watch the horror flick

October 14, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Lou Lombardo was feeling down and thought he was about to get a boot mark as a memento of his weekend.

The University of Maryland offensive lineman would have been a great target to get kicked. He was down after one of Maryland's worst games - a 20-7 loss Saturday to Georgia Tech. And then on Monday, it looked like it was about to get worse.

"We walked in and saw up on the board that the offense was having a meeting with coach (Ralph) Friedgen," Lombardo said. "I thought it was going to be a chew-up session."


Lombardo may have had every reason to expect the worst. Maryland's offense was abysmal. It managed just 81 yards, saw starting quarterback Joel Statham pulled midway through the third quarter and had true freshman Jordan Steffy finish the game.

The Terps were not only down, they were out in the game.

But instead of getting loud, Friedgen elected to get insightful. Instead of a butt-kicking, the coach elected to show the team some really bad home movies - films from the Saturday loss.

"We showed the tape of the game to the players," Friedgen said. "We showed them all the things that went wrong. Everyone has to do their jobs. Mental mistakes take away the opportunity to make plays."

The theory behind the horror-flick matinee was to show the team that the disappointing loss shouldn't be saddled on just Statham.

"We went through a tough game this past weekend and after looking at the film, I felt our offense played poorly," Friedgen said. "I felt we could've done a better job coaching, but Georgia Tech played very well on defense and gave us a lot of problems and they are to be commended."

"I think it was important to watch the tape as a whole team," he said. "If you do it together, it shows everyone that if they make a mental error, how it affects the play down the line. The players usually watch the tape in their groups and see the mistake, but don't see how it affected the play."

Friedgen's meeting was well received by the players.

"We were getting to the point where we would make a mistake and say, 'It wasn't a big one,'" Lombardo said. "This meeting showed us the big picture. One little mistake might not impact the initial moment, but it will have an effect down the line. It showed us the big picture of what we do. I thought it was a great meeting and I hope we have it again whether we win or lose."

The meeting showed the cause-and-effect nature of teamwork to the Terps.

"If you watch the film just with the offensive line, I say to myself, 'I didn't do a great job on the play, but the quarterback rolled out and passed away from my block. It was my fault, but it wasn't my fault.' When you see the full view, when I made my mistake, it made the quarterback throw the ball earlier than we wanted."

One of the things the film session proved was how Maryland was outplayed by Georgia Tech's blitzing defense.

"I hate to say it, but I was one of the guys who broke down in this game," Lombardo said. "We scouted them and we could call out their blitzes, but for some reason we couldn't handle it. We knew the blitzes were coming and we knew how to spot it, but we couldn't stop it."

Lombardo said the meeting created a new atmosphere at practice Monday. Players got more vocal on the field and in the huddle, and players began recognizing different things in plays and calling them out before the snap.

"If we didn't do something right, we went back and did it again," Lombardo said. "(Friedgen) is willing to keep us out there all day and all night to get things right and to get rid of mistakes."

Maryland's overall poor play started a quarterback controversy for the Terps. Speculation has been swirling around whether Statham or Steffy will start. Friedgen didn't commit to either quarterback at his weekly Tuesday media conference, but opened up the position to competition.

The hope of the move was to build two good quarterbacks. The hope of the team film session was a move to build a better season for the Terps.

"It's our job (as coaches) to put them in the situations and it's their job to make plays," Friedgen said. "I have a lot of confidence in these kids. They are fighters. We have to play the way we are capable of playing and the coaches have to put them in the right situations to do it."

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