Sunday, October 29, 2006

Maryland Football: Behind the Scenes

Maryland 27, Florida State 24

Incredible game by the Terps, who never trailed. Florida State dominated total yardage, outgaining Maryland 458 to 223. Read the Washington Post recap here.

I got to live out a dream of mine thanks to my friend Kelly. Through the friends he and his son Patrick have made at the University of Maryland athletic staff, we were able to attend Head Coach Ralph Friedgen's press conference. Part of me has always wanted to be sports journalist. I have this forum to attempt to be one at times. This night I got to see what goes on behind the behind the scenes after a football game. It was fun seeing what sports journalists do, what the football coaches and equipment staffers do after a game. I took some pictures (click to enlarge these) so I will do my best to describe the behind the scenes activity after a very important Maryland victory.

Here is coach Friedgen's press conference and an excerpt:

"What a win. I don't know where to start. We faced some adversity tonight in so many different areas. So many guys stepped up. Darrius Heyward-Bey made some big plays and Sam (Hollenbach) played really well. He managed the game really well and made plays when he had to. There were a couple of situations where he probably could have fumbled, but he didn't. I can see him getting better and better right now. I thought we ran the ball well early too."

"Defensively, we broke down a couple times and broke assignments, but we ended up getting the big play at the end."

"It's a big win for our team and a big win for our program, but we've still got such a long way to go. We've just got to continue to improve. We're not there yet. We're bowl eligible, but our goals are bigger than six wins. It's probably a relief for the team. That sixth win is a big monkey on your back, but it doesn't get any easier from here. We've got to keep our eyes on the next game and keep getting better."

"They keep fighting, that's just what they do," Friedgen said of his players. "Sometimes it's not pretty, but they give you all they have."

One thing that was pointed out to Coach Friedgen was the Terps did not turn the ball over for the first time in two years. Friedgen said he wasn't aware of that until FSU's Head Coach Bobby Bowden pointed that out in the post game meeting of the two coaches.

I recognized two local sports journalists that were in attendance. Chick Hernandez of Comcast SportsNet and Mike Wise of the Washington Post. Here is Wise's column about the game.

After this we went to the main floor where Chick Hernandez was interviewing Coach Friedgen one on one for the 11:00 SportsNite show on Comcast SportsNet. I didn't take a picture here as I did not want my flash on the digital camera to disrupt the interview. Still, it was pretty cool to see this. Here are a couple shots from the main lobby:

The 2001 ACC Football Championship trophy

A couple of recent bowl trophies

Next we went down to the weight room and I took this picture

We caught up with coach Dave Sollazzo there, who we chatted with briefly. He brings a lot of energy on the field. If you watch a Terps game in person, you'll be able to pick him out as he's always fired up on the sidelines. He coaches the defensive line. We also saw Defensive Coordinator Chris Cosh meeting with recruits who were at the game.

Next we got into the locker room where we chatted with a couple of the members of the equipment staff. The game started at 7:00 PM and one of the guys on the staff said they would be lucky if they got out of there by 3:00 AM. We were also a bit lucky as we were able to catch up with Terp QB Sam Hollenbach, who graciously chatted with us and signed game programs to our son's for Kelly and I. Hollenbach has shown a lot of heart in the two full season's he's been the Terps QB. He was the fourth string QB in 2004 when he got the start against Wake Forest during the last game of 2004. He worked hard and he's been the starter since. This season he's been very efficient running the offense and has the team poised to return to a bowl game.

After that, we returned to the football offices where we met up with Coach Friedgen, who was nice enough to sign my game program for Benjamin as well. He believes the ACC Champion will have two losses as it is a highly competitive conference where everyone just pounds on one another. I wanted to ask him about him handling the dual duties of being the head coach and the offensive coordinator but felt like it wasn't my place to do so. He had been answering questions from media after the game and he was relaxing and I let it pass. Personally, I feel it is too much for any head coach to be doing coordinator duties in this era of college and pro football. See 2005 Redskins; Gibbs, Joe. Gibbs hired an Offensive Coordinator for the 2006 season and it will be interesting to see if Friedgen does the same for next year. I think he will as part of the reason he's doing both jobs as his long time Offensive Coordinator Charlie Taffe retired in the Spring and it was too late to replace him.

It was truly a remarkable and fun experience for me. I was in awe the whole time. I've been a Terps fan all my life and while I was extremely down on them that third game against West Virginia, where they got throughly embarassed on national television, they've made remarkable strides in turning around their season. They have six wins and two losses with games at Clemson, Miami, at Boston College and Wake Forest remaining on the schedule. It is not an easy task ahead of the Terps but nothing is easy when contending in this conference.


Anonymous said...

Should've taken the picture Bill. Nothing bothers me when I'm with the big guy. Now if I can just get him to stop being so touchy feely.


Bill-DC said...

Yeah, I got a chuckle while watching the report. He was giving all Terps alum hugs. Thanks for checking in Chick.

Kelly Nugent said...


I am glad you had a great time. It was my pleasure making those arrangements for us. It was a great victory for all Terp fans.

Coach Friedgen, his players and his whole coaching staff have done some incredible things for my son, Patrick Nugent and me. Also, I will never forget Jess Atkinson putting that film clip of D'Qwell Jackson giving my son a signed football from the whole team on FridgeTV, then Comcast putting it on their newscast. That day on a Saturday morning and evening in October of 2004, he got to meet Lance Armstrong in the morning and then following up with receiving a football from D'Qwell Jackson, his biggest fan. What an awesome experience. I will always be a Terp fan till the day I die. Bury me in Red.

Here is the web link to this film Clip
Go on this web site:

Click on the Monday Tab.
Click on Watch the 2004 Series.
Click on the Georgia Tech Game which is game 5.
The last three minutes of the film clip is about Patrick. And the film clip was actually put on the Comcast Sports Show.

Bill-DC said...


This is great. Thanks for posting the link here. People can check this out and see what a class act Coach Friedgen and the Terps are.

Awesome post game experience!

Anonymous said...

As a 'Nole, it pained me to see what happened this game. Then again, if you're going to beat us, I'm happy it was in a season we're not doing anything anyhow. This may be the poorest season in the 30+ years Bowden has been coaching FSU -- some boosters are even calling for his head.

Regardless, glad you had a good time.

Bill-DC said...


I thought Xavier Lee played a great game at QB. He throws a nice ball and impressed me with his accuracy on a night where it was very windy. He's just a sophomore I believe. He's good.

Back to back 5-6 seasons was tough to stomach and some were calling for Ralph's head but it's great they are back on track and possibly headed to a bowl.

Not sure what will happen at FSU with Bowden. I think he's earned the right to go out when he feels it's time but that's just me. I'm sure a lot of alum feel different.

B.C. said...

"Maryland Were All Behind You
Raise High
The Black And Gold" !!

Bill-DC said...

HUGE game at Clemson! I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Stunned Silence in S.C.

What a WIN.......

Bill-DC said...

Yeah, I'm playing Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" right now for all Clemson fans.

What a heroic last drive by Sam Hollenbach and the Terps.

Maryland 13
Clemson 12


Anonymous said...

1st-10, MD34 2:15 S. Hollenbach passed to D. Oquendo to the right for 12 yard gain

1st-10, MD46 1:58 S. Hollenbach sacked by D. Scott

2nd-12, MD44 1:58 S. Hollenbach passed to J. Haynos to the right for 7 yard gain

3rd-5, CLEM49 1:27 S. Hollenbach passed to D. Heyward-Bey to the right for 4 yard gain

4th-1, CLEM45 1:16 S. Hollenbach rushed to the right for 5 yard gain

1st-10, CLEM40 1:04 S. Hollenbach passed to I. Williams down the middle for 13 yard gain

1st-10, CLEM27 0:51 K. Lattimore rushed up the middle for 3 yard gain

2nd-7, CLEM24 0:39 S. Hollenbach passed to Heynos down the middle for 12 yard gain

1st-10, CLEM12 0:20 S. Hollenbach rushed up the middle for 2 yard loss

2nd-12, CLEM14 0:20 S. Hollenbach incomplete pass down the middle

3rd-12, CLEM14 0:03 D. Ennis kicked a 31-yard field goal

What a @#%$ brilliant drive. Only incomplete pass was the spike.