It took quite a bit to extend today’s teleconference with Ralph Friedgen beyond five minutes, but in the search for content I asked the Maryland coach about how pleased he is with his kicking situation.
After all, it was only two weeks ago when that position was the most up in the air for the Terrapins (which must feel like the good old days at this point). Now, Nick Ferrara is 3-for-3 on field goals and 6-for-6 on extra points, with a 26-yard game-winner in OT last night.
“I think Nick’s done an unbelievable job,” Friedgen said. “For a kid right out of high school, he’s come in and done pretty well. It’s premature to get too excited. We just have to keep working and we’ll see how it is by the end of the year. This kid has a chance to be an excellent kicker. He has a strong leg and he’s done everything I’ve asked him to do at this point.”
He’s also done what his three immediate predecessors all did: Make crucial kicks in end-game situations.
Of all the numbers associated with the Friedgen era, the juxtaposition of these two might be the most amazing:
* In the final minute of the fourth quarter or overtime, Maryland is 9-for-9 on tying or go-ahead field goal attempts since 2001.
2001: Nick Novak, 46 yards at Georgia Tech, 0:00, Q4
2001: Nick Novak, 26 yards at Georgia Tech, OT
2002: Nick Novak, 26 yards vs. N.C. State, 0:34, Q4
2003: Nick Novak, 43 yards at N.C. State, 0:23, Q4
2004: Nick Novak, 33 yards at West Virginia, OT
2005: Dan Ennis, 28 yards at North Carolina, OT
2006: Dan Ennis, 31 yards at Clemson, 0:00, Q4
2008: Obi Egekeze, 20 yards vs. N.C. State, 0:06, Q4
2009: Nick Ferrara, 26 yards vs. James Madison, OT
* In the final minute of the fourth quarter or overtime, Maryland’s opponents are 1-for-7 on tying or go-ahead field goal attempts since 2001.
2003: Steve Azar (No. Illinois), 43 yards blocked, 0:05, Q4
2004: Brad Cooper (West Virginia), 39 yards blocked, 0:05, Q4
2005: Connor Barth (North Carolina), 23 yards good, 0:09, Q4
2005: Connor Barth (North Carolina), 38 yards wide right, OT
2006: Gary Cismesia (Florida State), 46 yards blocked, 0:38, Q4
2007: Travis Bell (Georgia Tech), 52 yards wide right, 0:54, Q4
2009: Dixon Wright (James Madison), 41 yards wide right, OT
Basically, the single most reliable thing of the last eight-plus seasons in College Park is a last-minute field goal going Maryland’s way —- whether the Terps are kicking it or trying to defend it.
And given the vagaries of kickers, that’s a pretty amazing reality indeed.
—- Patrick Stevens