- The Washington Times - Monday, November 28, 2005

Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen’s burgeoning offseason to-do list has an immediate priority: Find a defensive coordinator to take over for retiring Gary Blackney.

“He’s going to be tough to replace,” Friedgen said. “He’s really a great coach, but he’s a better person. I know he wants some time. He had some personal issues he’s dealing with. He has a place in Florida. He wants to stay involved, but he doesn’t want to do it 18 hours a day, which I can understand.”

Friedgen said he had candidates in mind to take over for Blackney but did not name any. He said some of them were preparing for bowl games and that he would speak to members of his staff about the position as well. Friedgen said he was happy with the team’s‘ 3-4 scheme, though he indicated the Terps probably had the personnel to switch to a 4-3 if a new coordinator desired it.

Friedgen said Blackney considered retiring after last season before opting to stay. Blackney informed Friedgen after the Oct.20 loss to Virginia Tech he intended to retire.

Blackney declined to speak with reporters but, in a statement issued by the athletic department, described his five years with the Terps as “fulfilling.”

Meanwhile, Friedgen said he was uncertain whether quarterback Joel Statham or tailback J.P. Humber will transfer after meeting with both players yesterday. Each has a year of eligibility remaining.

Statham started 10 games in 2004 before losing his job to Sam Hollenbach. He attempted only 36 passes in three games this year.

“I told him if that’s something he wanted to do, I’d help him,” Friedgen said. “He told me he wasn’t sure of that yet. If that’s what Joel wants to do, I’ll make some calls for him. He’ll probably have to transfer down to a Division I-AA school.”

Humber was the Terps’ fourth-string tailback but played in nine games on special teams. He had four carries for 53 yards, all against Temple.

“J.P. said he wanted to stay here,” Friedgen said. “I told him, ‘I see you getting better.’ ”

Notes —Team physician Craig Bennett told Friedgen he believes Hollenbach’s separated collarbone will scar over and not require surgery.

“I don’t know if Sam’s parents want that or if they want to go ahead and get it operated on,” Friedgen said. “I’d like to know what we’re dealing with as soon as possible. Dr. Bennett seems pretty confident. I’ve been down that road before, but that’s what I know.” …

Friedgen said he was collecting information to help tight end Vernon Davis decide whether to remain in school or declare for the NFL Draft. “My advice was to take as much time as he needs to see who else comes out,” Friedgen said. “They could impact him, too.” …

Davis and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson were selected to the All-ACC first team, while tailback Lance Ball and punter Adam Podlesh were second team picks. …

Left guard Donnie Woods and tailback Keon Lattimore will undergo shoulder surgery and not participate in spring practice, Friedgen said.

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