The Washington Times - August 18, 2008, 10:13AM

Its an annual rite of August: Ralph Friedgen worries about a new rule.

Remember last year with the kickoffs moved back five yards? Can’t seem to remember that coming up much later in this season.


One of this year’s treats: The elimination of the sideline warning. Instead, teams will be penalized five yards for the first infraction.

This seems pretty common sense, really. But it has some interesting implications at Maryland because of a few assistants who get a bit carried away.

Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh has a demonstrative side to him. And then there’s defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo, who has been known to trample upon the yard numbers when the mood strikes him.

That worries Ralph, and it’s hard to come up with a plan that would keep those two at bay any short of getting them dog collars that come with an electric fence that could be installed on the sideline. Ralph even made sure officials called the penalty on his assistants during a mock scrimmage last week.

So, will it be a problem?

“We practiced that,” Cosh said. “It’s important. The refs have their space and we have to make sure they can do their job and stay back and to be in your position and call your defense and be seen but be out of the way.”

That’s a nice, politically correct reply. But is it hard to restrain yourself?

“Oh, we all do, yeah,” Cosh said.

OK, one last question, this one for all the marbles. Who’s had more trouble adjusting to it?

“Oh, without a doubt Sollazzo,” Cosh said. “You didn’t need to ask that question.”

No, I probably didn’t.

—- Patrick Stevens