What's the biggest problem with Maryland Terrapins football this year? No stars were available to make plays for them over the course of the season.
Da’Rel Scott’s broken forearm , Chris Turner’s bad knee , Ralph Friedgen’s mind ; all of them have contributed to the malaise hanging over Maryland football. And for a program that has been used to fielding NFL-level talent over the last ten years, the 2009 Terps have been especially deficient on natural talent to compensate for poor execution.
Even when Terrapin football was in the dark ages under Ron Vanderlinden, they still were competitive in recruiting the best of the local talent. In the three years following RV’s dismissal, Friedgen took much of that talent and made an ACC contender out of the bunch.
And to this tradition of talent-laden rosters, Friedgen would go onto add stars like Bruce Perry, Vernon Davis, Dan Gronkowski, Shawne Merriman and Darius Heyward-Bey.
But injuries have taken out this year’s would-be playmakers in Scott and Turner, and the team has suffered a great deal because of it.
The mistakes that the Terps make are all mental, but the onus ultimately falls on Friedgen because he brought them to campus.
For the first time in some years, he doesn’t have the standout, NFL-ready talent to take the heat off of the notion that his players can’t retain his complex system on offense, and aren’t defensively athletic enough to keep up with most legitimate ACC teams.
And accordingly, Fridgen is on the hot seat for it.
So it ultimately comes down to a question of better coaching or better recruiting. Either you get the guys to understand and be motivated to make one play at a time, or you bring in players so overwhelmingly talented, people forget that their teammates suck.
For Friedgen, he’s be better off sticking with the latter in 2010.