Terps Face a Long Road Back From 12th-Ranked California
Thursday, September 3, 2009
As a final preparation for Saturday night's season opener at California, Maryland will conduct a short practice in College Park between 2 and 3:15 p.m. on Thursday before leaving for California later in the afternoon. The Terrapins will have a walk-through Friday and then try to kill time the best they can during the long wait for Saturday's game, which begins at 10 p.m. Eastern time.
The interesting part will come after the game, which probably won't end until around 1:30 a.m. Eastern time. Maryland's chartered flight likely won't take off until close to 3:30 a.m. Should the Terrapins win, chances are few people will be sleeping on the flight. Should the game be turn ugly for the Terps, you may be able to hear a pin drop.
But win or lose, assistants will be grading film during the overnight flight, getting a jump-start on preparations for the home opener against James Madison on Sept. 12. Maryland won't get back to College Park until late Sunday morning, so Coach Ralph Friedgen has advised his assistants to get a few hours of sleep before returning to the Gossett Team House later Sunday for further preparation. Friedgen has said much of the prep for James Madison was completed this summer because it will be the Dukes' first game of the season.
Simply the Best
Caleb Porzel, Maryland's fastest player by most accounts, is banged up, so another freshman running back, D.J. Adams, has taken on the role of California running back Jahvid Best in practice.
No one can truly simulate Best's speed and acceleration in practice, but Friedgen said that Adams has done a good job. Best has had 19 carries for 20 or more yards and three carries for 80 or more yards in his career.
"Every film we look at, there is another long run," Friedgen said. "He will be even faster on turf than he is on grass."
The one constant for this young Maryland team has been effort. Players have worked, and worked hard, even when Friedgen thought they were tired, sore and beaten up in two-a-days.
But Monday brought a change. Friedgen said it was the team's worst practice, and that includes spring practice. He wanted to give the players a pass because it was the first day of classes at Maryland and his teams, for whatever reason, do not practice well on the first day of classes.
But with a young team, Friedgen is concerned about getting his team ready for a season-opening road game.
Twenty-eight players on the two-deep depth chart have not played in a division I-A game.
"We can't go through the motions," Friedgen said. "We have to be a blue-collar team. 'Let's chill': That [attitude] is not going to get it done."