There is little going on in the Great Maryland Coaching Saga of Aught Nine (Part II).
Athletic director Debbie Yow and football coach Ralph Friedgen continued their meetings today. And while you’d like to think the two could agree to not have the team come out dressed like rotten tomatoes again (with the black-on-red outfit used for the Clemson and Boston College games), it’s safe to say more serious matters have been talked about over the last couple days.
Tomorrow’s dead-tree edition story doesn’t focus so much on whatever the two opted to chat about, in large because I don’t know (but could probably guess. Hint: It rhymes with “Cue-And-Zen Reason”)
What is relevant, though, is the impact this week’s discussions and eventual decision have on recruiting.
If Friedgen remains, he’ll only have two years left on his contract, which is not a position of strength while trying to persuade 17-year-olds to sign on, even with a head-coach-in-waiting (James Franklin) in the fold.
And if he departs, well who knows what that does to salvaging the closing stretch of this recruiting season and getting a head start on the next one?
There’s at least an unknown in that situation, which means there’s a chance things can be salvaged. If he stays, Rivals.com analyst Mike Farrell thinks its a smaller-scale version of what Notre Dame just dealt with in Charlie Weis‘ win-or-else season this fall.
“It puts a damper on recruiting,” Farrell said. “The good thing for Maryland is that is does not recruit at a national level like a Notre Dame. The bad thing is it hurts in-state recruiting. The last thing they need is to hurt in-state recruiting any more.”
How bad is it inside the state line this year? Just one of the top 20 players in the state according to Rivals.com —- defensive back Titus Till of Upper Marlboro —- is committed to Maryland.
And just the potential for tumult and change could hurt the Terps. Perception can become reality, and the questions surrounding Friedgen can’t help the sales job of assistants still plying away on the recruiting trail this week.
“You do have some concern and that’s why I think whenever there are changes, it’s always in the university’s interests if it wants to salvage recruiting is to make a quick hire, or to get something out there publicly as soon as possible,” said ESPN.com recruiting analyst JC Shurburtt. “Nowadays, prospects and parents and sometimes —- and I’m not a big fan of these —- but advisor types have put themselves in the process. There’s a lot of moving parts.”
Which is why finding a resolution to this situation and making a decision soon is of great significance for the Terps’ chances of saving recruiting in the short- and medium-term.
—- Patrick Stevens