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Terps' solution: recruiting

10/27/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

It seems like an awfully long time -- through the end of the 2011 season -- until offensive coordinator James Franklin takes over as Maryland's head coach.

Maryland athletics director Debbie Yow isn't one to make any hasty decisions, so let's just assume for the sake of argument no coaching change will be made in College Park at the end of this dreadful season for the Terps. There's only one thing Franklin can do right now to "fix" this program, and he's using the bye week to do it -- recruit.

Maryland fans want to know what's wrong, and it's quite simple. The staff didn't recruit the quality players needed at three key positions -- offensive and defensive line, and quarterback -- and it's finally caught up to them in wins and losses. This falls in large part on two people: coach Ralph Friedgen and recruiting coordinator Dave Sollazzo, who also happens to coach the defensive line. If there is one coaching change that can't afford to wait at Maryland, it's naming a new recruiting coordinator.

The Terps have done a better job with recruiting last year and are in the midst of luring in another solid class, but it's no coincidence those improvements began with the return of Franklin. He's helped bring in freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien, who was one of the top prep players in the state of North Carolina, and he's determined to make sure Maryland doesn't ever get stuck depending on one quarterback again. We won't know until he takes over how Franklin fares as a head coach, but he increases his chances of success dramatically from the start if he's got depth and talent to work with.

Some who pay close attention to the Terps might have noticed that last night, their JV team lost to Fork Union Military Academy, 14-13. West Virginia lost to that team, too, so it's not worth too much ink. Players were playing out of position, like defensive back Anthony Green, who was the team's quarterback. The problem here is not that the Terps lost last night, it's that Green had to play quarterback, just like he did this past spring, when there were only two other quarterbacks on the roster: starter Chris Turner and Jamarr Robinson, who entered this year having played one game -- on special teams. He couldn't play in the JV game because the Terps can't afford to get him hurt.

So, yes, changes need to be made at Maryland, but regardless of who is coaching this team, he won't win if they can't win the battle up front, as evidenced by the current 2-6 record. While it might seem like forever to Maryland fans until Franklin takes over, he'll need at least that long to mend the recruiting errors Friedgen and his staff made.