The Washington Times - September 24, 2008, 07:46PM

I was down on Route 1 last Thursday during the closed portion of football practice and faintly heard some music some place far away.

This, of course, came courtesy of DJ Fridge.


That’s because Ralph Friedgen has taken to pumping music in at the end of practice (instead of the traditionally godawful “crowd noise” that sounds very little like an actual crowd). And the man who implores his players to make the periods count rather than counting the periods has seen a difference.

“The music kind of helps,” Friedgen said. “Don’t ask me. There’s a study there. Maybe it signifies the end is near, but I don’t know.”

The play list varies from day to day – it’s included Ratt’s “Round and Round,” a tribute of sorts to quarterback Chris Turner and his dad, the latter who was once a member of the band. That selection was surely no coincidence, but the overall theme seems to be helping the Terps.

“It’s just a little something extra to get us over the top,” Turner said.

Really, this left one serious question in my mind: Does Ralph take requests?

I mean, this could be even more meaningful than helmet stickers in terms of motivation. Do well, and you get to select the music – and perhaps avoid a less appealing genre.

“That’s always a huge discussion,” Friedgen said. “I really need a jukebox coordinator, whether it’s hip-hop or country. They really don’t want to hear my songs. I don’t know if Frank [Sinatra] started playing, they’d know that.”

This, in turn, led Friedgen to spin one of his yarns – but fortunately, it was one I’d never heard before, so my attention didn’t wander.

“The first time I did that, we had lost a couple games and I told Ronnie [Ohringer] ‘When they come out to practice, turn on the music,’” Friedgen said. “So they’re walking through the gate with their heads down dreading practice and all the sudden the music comes on and they pick up. One of the coaches runs over to Ronnie and says ‘Does Friedgen know you have this thing on?’”

Indeed he did. And Friedgen’s behind this little ploy as well, even if he’s a little irritated by all the racket.

“I don’t know what it is, but our practices have been better near the end,” Friedgen said. “I don’t know what it is. It bothers the hell out of me. I don’t think you can coach. A lot of our coaches probably don’t like it. But if it gets them going, turn it up.”

Patrick Stevens