The ACC’s football coaches agreed this year to limit their travel rosters to 72 players as a cost-cutting measure.
The reasoning behind the number was that 72 is the total allowed for the league title game. So there is some logic to it.
But as Maryland’s Ralph Friedgen is discovering, even though he usually landed somewhere between 70 and 75 guys on a trip, hitting 72 isn’t the easiest thing in the world.
When he tried to come up with a travel list today, he came up with 69 sure things.
“Now you got to look at that and say how many more do you need to be on special teams?” Friedgen said. “It’s only three guys you’re dealing with. It’s a little more of a factor than I thought it was going to be.”
It’s not that Maryland (or any team) would use 72 players in one game. Typically, the Terps wind up deploying between 55 and 60 guys.
It’s just that you have to bring a backup at positions like punter, kicker and long snapper in case of injury. And that makes versatility – like the possibility Nick Ferrara could handle three kicking jobs quite valuable indeed.
Friedgen made sure his players understood the gravity of the situation as well.
“If you’re one of the guys on the bubble, you’d better show up tomorrow [for the final scrimmage of camp] if you want to get on the bus,” Friedgen said.
Among the guys right around the cut line are defensive backs Brandon Jackson-Mills and Thomas Wright, fullback Louis Berman and running back Dan Bonato.
Are they big names? No. But they could all be useful on special teams.
Which is why Friedgen and special teams coordinator Charles Bankins crunched the numbers to line some priorities up before any decisions are made.
“He can’t have guys on the special teams that he’s counting on and all the sudden they’re not going to be on the trip,” Friedgen said. “We’d better get that squared away right away.”