The Obi files

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It would seem the time to start worrying about Maryland’s field-goal kicking has arrived.

And it certainly makes sense.

Obi Egekeze has missed five straight field goals this season, six straight since last year’s Emerald Bowl. I saw him a couple times in the team house last week, and let’s just say he was far from chipper – and for good reason.

Let’s put it this way: Maryland has had a year under Ralph Friedgen during which it didn’t miss five field goals, and the Terps are only at the quarter-pole of this season.

YearMade 
Att. 
Pct.
2001 172665.4 
2002242885.7
2003243275.0
2004162272.7
2005172568.0
2006202580.0
2007172373.9

Friedgen hinted at a change yesterday. But maybe it will happen. And maybe it won’t.

“I’m still thinking that over,” Friedgen said. “Before I make any decison, I want to talk to our staff and also to Obi. We’ve got to get better in that area.”

And thus, Friedgen makes his greatest understatement of the young season.

Trouble is, who do you find who can replace a scholarship kicker who did pretty well outside of one game last year? Harsh though this may sound, kickers really are on an island. It’s rare that a school will have more than two specialists on scholarship at any time (though I’m pretty sure Maryland actually had three back in 2002 when punters Brooks Barnard and Adam Podlesh and kicker Nick Novak were on scholarship).

When you yank one out of the lineup, it’s almost always in favor of someone paying his own way.

One (Nick Wallace) played at Division II Indiana (Pa.) two years ago. Others have been around the program for a few years (David May).

So what is Friedgen to do, if he makes a switch?

“It could be Wallace,” Friedgen said. “We have another walk-on, Mike Barbour. We also have May. We also have [punter Travis] Baltz. I don’t want to make it where I can make a decision on all of them. Probably Wallace and Barbour will be the candidates I would make a decision from.”

If he winds up making any decision at all.

Patrick Stevens

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