- The Washington Times - Friday, January 2, 2004

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Maryland will sweeten coach Ralph Friedgen’s contract to deter potential NFL offers.

Maryland sources yesterday confirmed a new six-figure bonus tied to still-pending marketing deals that will increase steadily each year. The first season could mean at least another $100,000, which will grow to several hundred thousand dollars in coming seasons.

Friedgen has seven seasons remaining on a 10-year deal that pays him more than $1.2million annually. He denied interest in current NFL openings even though Chicago, Atlanta and the New York Giants included Friedgen on their prospects list. He also rejected any interest in Washington’s opening.

“I’m happy at Maryland,” Friedgen said. “We have a lot of work to do here. [If] we keep winning these bowl games, we’re going to have to get a bigger Hall of Fame to put all theses trophies in. I’m happy with the recruiting. We’re a year away from having a very good football program.”

Still, Maryland officials recently started searching for alternate compensation to help offset lucrative NFL deals that might tempt Friedgen, who met briefly with Tampa Bay officials in 2002. Georgia Tech also showed interest in Friedgen in 2002. The new plan compensates Friedgen without using current monies.

Friedgen has been more concerned with the university’s commitment to the program than his personal compensation. Maryland is building a new team house and plans to add 15,000 seats to Byrd Stadium as soon as 2007. The Terrapins averaged 51,236 fans at home this season. The Terps’ season-ticket base tripled to nearly 30,000 while Friedgen won an ACC record 31 games in his first three years.

“I hope he stays,” quarterback Scott McBrien said. “He’s done wonders for this program.”

McBrien pro prospect

McBrien’s fast finish could interest NFL teams. He won the MVP award at both the Gator and Peach bowls, improving as each season progressed. McBrien should get an invitation to the NFL Combine next month.

“What do I have to lose?” he said. “[The NFL] wasn’t one of my main goals entering college. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll move on.”

McBrien set Maryland bowl records for passing yards (381), touchdowns (three) and total offense (367). Given his 21-6 record in two seasons, McBrien’s penchant for big games should draw some attention.

“I’m pretty satisfied with what I’ve done with this program,” he said. “I may not have the stats of some other ACC quarterbacks, but I have a lot of wins.”

Ironically, McBrien thought he was through after leaving West Virginia in 2001. Instead, he spent one season on Maryland’s scout team as a walk-on before earning a scholarship.

“I didn’t think I’d ever play this sport again,” he said. “I lost my competitiveness and love for the game. It wasn’t until a few good friends talked me [into walking] on to Maryland, and it’s worked out.”

Extra points

Kicker Nick Novak made all four extra points but was only 2-for-4 on field goals in continuing his late-season slump. The All-ACC junior converted 26- and 24- yarders but was wide right on 51- and 35-yard attempts. Novak is two points shy of Florida State’s Scott Bentley (326), who holds the ACC record for career points. …

Freshman receiver Vernon Davis flashed the potential that made him one of the nation’s top prospects when he zigzagged for a 28-yard reception that led to the Terps’ 24-0 lead. Davis only caught four passes for 28 yards this season while playing mostly on special teams. …

Receiver Jafar Williams’ two touchdown catches were the most by a Terp in a bowl game and his most in a game. He finished 13th in Maryland history in career receptions (90) and 12th in yards (1,317). … The Terps set 10 team records for a bowl game.

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