Kicker May Be Game-Time Decision
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
The Mike Barbour-Nick Ferrara place kicker battle continues into game week and could very well continue all the way up to kickoff for the season opener against California Saturday night.
The good thing for Maryland is that they have performed well in camp, especially recently. Both made their share of kicks longer than 45 yards over the past week, and Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen's confidence in them seems to be growing.
"It is a nice problem to have," Friedgen said.
Barbour has made tremendous improvement. He barely won the kicking battle in spring over Nick Wallace, but had yet to go toe to toe against Ferrara, a freshman.
Ferrara, meantime, has the stronger leg. He has shown Friedgen that he can kick successfully from beyond 50 yards. He is expected to handle kickoff duties. And Friedgen said the other day that if he had a long field goal, he expects to go with Ferrara. The question is which kicker will Friedgen go with on field goal attempts within 45 yards?
We may not know until late Saturday night.
Friedgen likes this team. A lot. No one -- not even Friedgen -- knows how good this team will be. But he likes this team so much that he listened to the team's leadership council and decided to let players elect permanent captains for the entire season.
Under Friedgen, different players have usually been named captains for different games. This marks the first time Friedgen has allowed permanent captains to be named before the season. The reason he did it is because he likes the overall leadership and character of the team.
The offensive captions are senior center Phil Costa and senior quarterback Chris Turner.
The defensive captains are junior linebacker Adrian Moten and senior cornerback Nolan Carroll.
A special teams captain will be named for each game.
"I felt like we had a lot of quality guys, a pretty good group of kids to pick from," Friedgen said. "They picked the guys I would have liked them to pick."
Friedgen takes the idea of captains so seriously that he had the players swear on Bibles before practice.
"It is that important to me," Friedgen said. "If you elect the wrong captains, it can hurt you more than help you. With this team, I thought we had some strong leaders. The percentages were better with these kids than maybe in any year I have been here, maybe along with the first year."
Moten was the only junior, and his election reflects the respect teammates, including upperclassmen, have for him. "Adrian has really matured as a young man," Friedgen said. "He is kind of outspoken and not afraid to tell guys who aren't working to get in gear. He has had a couple confrontations on the team. They look at it as a guy making people accountable. I am happy he is one of the captains."