- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 16, 2002

It was the most bittersweet moment of Ralph Friedgen's career.
The Maryland coach was torn between happiness for a victory and sadness for a good friend. He didn't know quite how to react after the Terrapins made an impressive comeback and stunned his former team, Georgia Tech, in Atlanta last season.
"It was just a different feeling for me than I've ever had after a game," Friedgen said of the 20-17 overtime win that gave the Terps a 6-0 record. "I'm usually pretty ruthless. I was split one way or the other. I have never been that way in my life. Probably never will be again."
Friedgen was thrilled for his team in what turned out to be the defining moment of a spectacular 10-1 season. But he also was melancholy after beating the program he helped build the previous four seasons and players who he had coached. The most difficult part was probably seeing the dejection in his close friend and then-Yellow Jackets coach George O'Leary.
The emotions are much less intense in Friedgen's second season, and feelings won't be as strong when he looks across the field at the Georgia Tech bench tomorrow night.
Many of the players like George Godsey, groomed when Friedgen was offensive coordinator, are gone. O'Leary, who left for Notre Dame before being forced to resign there because of false information on his resume, is an assistant coach with the Minnesota Vikings. Former Dallas Cowboys coach Chan Gailey will lead the Yellow Jackets (4-2, 1-2 ACC) into Maryland (4-2, 0-1) tomorrow.
"It won't be the same because George isn't there and we were so close," said Friedgen, who sees O'Leary regularly in the summer as neighbors in Atlanta. "Georgia Tech will always have a special place in my heart. I coached there nine years [over two stints] and have tremendous relationships there and friends. This week that ends, and it's a very competitive situation."

Novak's seminal moment
Freshman Nick Novak's booming 46-yard field goal as time expired forced overtime last season at Georgia Tech. It was the longest kick by 13 yards of Novak's career; he had missed seven of his first 11 field goal attempts before that.
"The only thing I remember about that kick was the ground shaking," said Novak, who later nailed a 26-yarder to win the game in overtime. "That kick did wonders for my mind and mental toughness. Since then, I've been on a roll. I have not even been thinking about missing this year. Last year I was a little tentative."
The Charlottesville native made 12 of his final 14 field goals to finish the season, with both misses from at least 50 yards. This season, he's made 10 of 13, including two of three 50-yarders, plus a 46-yarder that would have cleared 60. The son of two college professors has evolved into one of the Terps' most lethal weapons.
"What it did for the rest of the year, it gave him confidence to be consistent," special teams coach Ray Rychleski said of the tying field goal against Georgia Tech. "The rest of the year, he had a very solid year. It's nice to see a kid who goes to class, gets over a 3.0 [GPA], does all the things right, works hard and is rewarded."

Extra points
There will be increased security at Byrd Stadium tomorrow night, with additional police inside and outside the stadium, extra patrols in parking lots and guards at campus entrances. Bruce Perry is doubtful for the game because he has little endurance in practice, according to Friedgen. The tailback has missed the season so far after tearing a groin muscle in the preseason.


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