- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The hiring of James Franklin as Maryland’s offensive coordinator figured to provide the Terrapins a new look.

It also might have delivered a tweaked head coach as well.

Franklin’s arrival ensured many things, not the least was a less frenetic daily grind for coach Ralph Friedgen, whose teams began spring workouts yesterday in College Park.

After two years of juggling the hats of head coach, offensive coordinator and ostensible program CEO, Friedgen suddenly has a little more time on his side as he enters his eighth season at Maryland.

“He’s just been more relaxed,” junior wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey said. “He’s had a chance to really sleep in a little more than usual. I’ve talked to him a few times, and it seems like he can worry about the things he has to worry about and get the younger guys to know who he is as a coach and as a person other being the coach who has to do so much at one time.”

It was impossible not to notice Friedgen’s fatigue the last two seasons as bleary-eyed days blended together in November. Without an offensive coordinator after Charlie Taaffe resigned in early 2006, Friedgen was left to concoct practice plans and run meetings.

Much of that work was already in place last year, but an uneven season featuring a pair of victories over teams ranked in the top 10 at the time coupled with startling losses took a different sort of toll. Maryland finished 6-7 with a loss in the Emerald Bowl to Oregon State.

The hiring of Franklin, who worked under Friedgen as a wide receivers coach for four seasons and was most recently the offensive coordinator at Kansas State, figures to make a difference.

Senior linebacker Trey Covington has noticed Friedgen lurking about nearly everywhere in recent months: surveying the weight room during workouts or just simply walking past an ajar door during a meeting.

“It’s taken a lot off me, it really has,” Friedgen said. “I’ve really found I can spend more time with the players. That’s something I wasn’t able to do and wasn’t doing a very good job of. It’s just a matter of time. [When] I kind of look back and see a lot of things I am doing that I wasn’t able to do, it’s helped tremendously.”

Notes — Junior Chris Turner enters the spring as the No. 1 quarterback ahead of erstwhile starter Jordan Steffy and junior Josh Portis, who was suspended last season.

“He’ll go in as No. 1, but it’s a wide-open situation,” Friedgen said of Turner. “I think that competition is still going to take place.” …

Seven players will sit out spring practice with injuries: tackle Tyler Bowen (foot), linebacker Rick Costa (shoulder), linebacker Moise Fokou (shoulder), defensive end Mack Frost (knee), tight end Matt Furstenberg (shoulder), linebacker Dave Philistin (shoulder) and defensive lineman Joe Vellano (shoulder).

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