A popular topic for both Chris Turner and Nolan Carroll at last week’s ACC Kickoff was leadership.
Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen touched on it, too, suggesting a smaller senior class (12 guys on scholarship) might be better equipped to hold things together.
Friedgen, of course, tries not to leave things to chance. So yet again, he set up a competition that lasted the spring semester with veteran players serving as team leaders.
The idea was to accumulate points for doing the right things and avoid losing points for indiscretions. The winner got a cookout at Friedgen’s house; dropping points led to less enjoyable things, like early-morning conditioning visits to Byrd Stadium
“I really feel that points system we did in the spring shows the type of leadership characteristics that come out,” Carroll said. “It showed who is doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
Carroll, it should be noted, was on the winning team. And he was directly responsible for it, since the team leaders had the chance to draft who their fate would be tied to.
Among Carroll’s selections: Andrew Gonnella, Lamar Young, Quintin McCree, Michael Carter, Ben Pooler, Hakeem Sule and Herb Law.
“I picked the people who were going to be able to get me points and not lose me points,” Carroll said. “Most of time, I was picking the good guys.”
That’s a nice bit of ruthlessness on the part of Carroll, a soft-spoken and thoughtful fifth-year senior who has dealt with frustration at wide receiver, a switch to cornerback and a junior season filled with nagging injuries over the course of his career.
It’s also emblematic of the leadership Friedgen probably wants to see. Carroll opted to do what it took to succeed, rather than cut a corner or two along the way and select guys he knew well.
“I didn’t do that, because I knew that was going to get me in trouble in the long run,” Carroll said. “I just picked people who were going to help me out. Those guys who want to do that, they can do that. Guys were mad at me because I didn’t pick them. I didn’t pick my friends. I said ‘Nothing personal, but I want to win.’”
Sounds like someone already has his slogan for the 2009 season set.
—- Patrick Stevens