The Washington Times - February 6, 2009, 08:17AM

Thought it might be a somewhat tame Friday.

Guess again.

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Looks like Maryland is going ahead and pulling the trigger on setting up a football succession plan, which in itself isn’t a huge surprise. It is a mild surprise it came together so quickly.

Here’s a story I just filed for the web. Obviously, it’s not the last we’ll hear about this today:

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Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin is now the school’s designated successor to coach Ralph Friedgen, a source close to the situation confirmed Friday morning.

The 37-year-old Franklin worked at Maryland from 2000 to 2004, then returned to the school last season as offensive coordinator and assistant head coach.

Friedgen is entering his ninth season with the Terps. The 61-year-old owns a career record of 64-36, and has three seasons remaining on his contract. It is uncertain how long he will remain on the job, but the succession plan lends continuity to the program.

The news was first reported by Rivals.com on Thursday night. Franklin and athletic director Debbie Yow did not immediately return phone messages left late Thursday.

The coach-in-waiting concept has become more popular in recent seasons as schools look for stability. Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez named Bret Bielema as his successor in July 2005 when he announced he would focus on his athletic director duties after the ‘05 season.

In the years since, Florida State, Kentucky, Oregon, Purdue and Texas have also announced such plans, though Purdue (replacing the retiring Joe Tiller with Danny Hope after last fall) is the only additional school to go through the transition.

Patrick Stevens