The Washington Times - September 19, 2007, 08:12PM
Ralph Friedgen

\ He can be gregarious on good days, angry on bad ones. Today was a bad one, but “angry” wouldn’t be a fair characterization.\

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\ Punchy would be a bit better.\

\ He had no interest in pleasantries after what he described as a less-than-stellar practice offensively, ordering “Fire away, let\0x2019s go.” Some of that might be his crammed Wednesday schedule of the media horde followed by a TV gig followed by trip to the weekly radio show.\

\ Ralph, though, came out firing with staccato answers to an array of questions, both simple and challenging. But it wasn’t in a bitter way, and eventually he seemed downright amused at the proceedings\

\ Like, is the team excited about starting ACC play?\

\ “We’ll have to find out,” he said. “I’m excited; how about you?”\

\ Dave Philistin has started at middle linebacker this season, but is he solidly in control of the job?\

\ “Nobody’s solidified anything yet,” Ralph said. “He’ll play there as long as he’s playing well. If he doesn’t play well, we’ll find someone else.”\

\ I started to ask about getting a downfield complement to Darrius Heyward-Bey.\

\ “You got one?” Ralph asked.\

\ “I wish,” I replied as I fantasized about delivering the next Albert Means for a slick payday, regardless of NCAA rules. If I’d been on my game, I would have said “Let me check my inventory.”\

\ Later, there was a follow up on what sort of stress is on Heyward-Bey because of the lack of productive-to-date downfield options.\

\ “It places a big burden on me. You guys ask …,” Friedgen said before a several-second pause, “the strangest questions.” Laughter ensued.\

\ And there had to be the requisite question about quarterback Jordan Steffy, tied in with the lack of a deep passing game in the first three games of the season.\

\ “I see him getting better in practice,” Friedgen said. “It’s something I think he’s working at. It’s not going to happen overnight. I wish it would. I might start growing hair and lose weight. It’s going to take time. I understand that. You people don’t. That’s the problem.”\

\ Well, maybe part of the problem. But it also seems a solid place to leave things for the night.\

\ — Patrick Stevens