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“I know the kind of football coach Ralph is, but in today’s time, it’s what we are,” Cutcliffe said. “It’s going to happen everywhere. I started thinking about this the other day. I did my own little mental study - who gets to retire anywhere anymore? That’s kind of a thing of the past. Everybody ends up being fired.”

For his part, Friedgen spent plenty of time marveling at his team and how eager he is to see it mature next season. He noted only one of his scout team players accepted an offer to go home for Thanksgiving, far fewer than in past seasons.

“These kids have done everything I asked them to do,” Friedgen said. “Have we made some mistakes that hurt us in games? Yeah. But they work hard every day, and they come out, and they’re a pleasure to be with.

“I’m planning on being with them for a long time.”