Friedgen Addresses Media Monday at ACC Football Kickoff
July 27, 2009
GREENSBORO, N.C. - The 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff capped off Monday evening when the 12 head coaches addressed the media at the Grandover Resort.
Ralph Friedgen, one of the longest-tenured members of that group, spent roughly four hours visiting with members of the print and electronic media.
Friedgen, who is entering his ninth season with the eighth-best winning percentage in league history (.640), addressed a number of topics, including the team's prospects this season, his excitement about the young players in the program and his recent weight loss (95 pounds since October).
"This team seems very hungry right now," Friedgen said. "I've had very few problems, very little effort issues. I'm pretty proud of this team. I am very, very excited about this season. I'm very excited about our players and who they are as people."
Despite being selected fifth in the Atlantic Division race during preseason voting at the ACC Football Kickoff, Friedgen has reason to be optimistic as the Terps return 10 starters, including six on offense. Maryland also has two preseason All-Americans on special teams in punter Travis Baltz and kick returner Torrey Smith.
Friedgen and the Terps are also about to enter preseason camp with a returning starting quarterback for the first time since the 2006 season.
Senior Chris Turner is back after leading the Terps to an 8-5 record last season, including a win in the Humanitarian Bowl and victories over four ranked opponents.
"There is a certain comfort level with that," Friedgen said. "We know how Chris has performed in big games. That's a very positive thing. There is also a certain comfort level with our team with Chris."
Turner is already among the top signal-callers in school history. He ranks fourth on Maryland's career completion percentage list (59.7), seventh in career passing yards chart (4,474) and seventh in total offense (4,295). He has been at his best against the top competition, having posted a 5-1 record as a starter vs. Top 25 teams.
The Terps will have to replace three starters along the offensive line. Senior Phil Costa and junior Bruce Campbell are back and figure to be among the best at their positions in the league, but no one else has started a game, nor seen significant action.
"That's a big question mark," Friedgen said of the line. "I know they've worked very hard over the summer. The young guys started coming on at the end of the spring. I think we'll be able to throw the ball with some three and five-step drops, but can we run the ball? If we can, I think we'll be ok. If we can't, then we'll have some problems."
The Terps return just four starters on defense, but they hope a more attacking-style under first-year coordinator Don Brown will make up for the loss of those players, specifically at linebacker where they lost two starters (Dave Philistin and Moise Fokou) and two key reserves.
"I'm hoping that's a big factor," Friedgen said of Brown's addition. "I was concerned in the spring after we lost so many linebackers and had (Alex) Wujciak and (Ben) Pooler out (with injuries), but we moved Drew Gloster there and the two freshmen (Avery Murray and Darin Drakeford) came in and played exceptionally well. So I feel much better now than I did earlier. We should be in pretty good shape there."
The Terps will begin fine-tuning the new defense on Aug. 10 when preseason camp opens.
Tyser Tower Expansion Project: The newly-expanded Tyser Tower will officially open at the first home football game on Saturday, Sept. 12 vs. James Madison. The renovated towers include 64 luxury suites, and over 400 new mezzanine seats. Suites are available now on multi-year, annual and single-game lease terms and offer the most luxurious game viewing experience. Mezzanine Seating is available now on lifetime, 10-year or annual lease terms, and feature complimentary in-seat food and beverage service. For more information on these premium seating opportunities at Chevy Chase Bank Field at Byrd Stadium, please call the Terrapin Club at (301) 314-7020, send an e-mail or visit www.GreatExpectationsAthletics.com.
Football Season Tickets on Sale: Season tickets for this fall's seven-game home slate, which includes matchups with Rutgers, Clemson, Virginia and Virginia Tech, start as low as $135 and are on sale through the Maryland Athletics Ticket Office. To purchase season tickets, call 1-800-IM-A-TERP or click here.