- - Tuesday, September 17, 2019

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland’s Sept. 27 showdown with Big Ten rival Penn State is shaping up as a homecoming for former Terrapin coaches.

Legendary former coach Ralph Friedgen will be honored at the game, current Terrapins coach Mike Locksley announced Tuesday. Locksley was once an assistant under Friedgen.

“He had a huge impact on my career as a mentor and as a coach,” Locksley said. “I can’t tell you the impact that Ralph had on Maryland football and the community. He is a guy I have the utmost respect for, that I have looked up to. He has a passion for this place like I do.”

Friedgen, a New York native, played at Maryland from 1966-68 and then was an assistant coach with the Terrapins. He was the head coach from 2001-10 at Maryland and led the program to sustained success, starting with the ACC title in 2001, seven bowl games and a school-record five bowl wins.

But Friedgen was fired after the 2010 season. A few years ago, he claimed that he burned his Maryland diploma due to his dismissal as the coach. Friedgen, 72, was part of the coaching staff at Rutgers in New Jersey after he left College Park. He also coached at Georgia Tech before coming to Maryland.

“I could care less about Maryland, I’ve burned my diploma,” he told Baltimore radio station WNST-AM in 2011. “I’m flying a Georgia Tech flag now. They talk about Maryland pride. They didn’t show me a whole lot of Maryland pride, either getting the job or getting fired.”

The game has drawn a lot of interest from students, who have gobbled up their available allotment of tickets.

“I know I am excited as well as our fans and team,” Locksley said. “We are excited to have Ralph back to College Park next week.”

Adding to the intrigue is former Maryland assistant James Franklin is now the head coach at Penn State. Franklin was once seen as the heir apparent to be Maryland’s head coach, but that didn’t work out. He became Vanderbilt’s head coach before taking over the program at Penn State.

This season’s Maryland team started 2-0 with big wins over Howard and Syracuse at home before stumbling in a 20-17 loss at Temple on Saturday.

“One win won’t define us and neither will one win,” Locksley said. “We will continue to move forward.”

Locksley said the bye week comes at a good time after the loss at Temple.

“As I said last week, our season was going to be a journey,” Locksley said. “We are a little disappointed which to me it is a good thing. Our team and our players, they expect to win. I was glad to see that our players are disappointed.

“No one expects setbacks but everyone has them,” he added. “On offense, I thought we were off. I thought our timing was off. The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for us. We need to get back to fundamental things.”

Despite red zone problems at Temple, Locksley said running back Anthony McFarland is still the best option with runs near the goal line.

“He will figure out a way to get into the end zone,” Locksley said.

Locksley also defended offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery.

“I thought the play-calling was fine,” Locksley said. “I thought the execution of play calling needs to continue to be worked on.”

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