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Monday, September 8, 2008
Maryland needs quick fixes before Cal comes to town

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said the Terps need to do a better job from top to bottom -- players and coaches -- when they host California this week. A few players approached him this weekend, disappointed about the 24-14 letdown loss to Middle Tennessee State, but Friedgen said there's little he can do about it now other than stay positive.

"I still think this team has a lot of talent on it," he said. "I think we've got a lot of great kids and I believe they've got character. One night doesn't make a season. You've got to keep hanging in there, get ready for the next game. There's nothing we can do about the last one except learn from our mistakes. That's the approach I'm going to take."

He's right -- this team does have talent (not to mention 30 seniors on the roster). Which makes it all the more perplexing why there were so many breakdowns.

Part of the problem, Friedgen said, was that the offense is in a new system under first-year coordinator James Franklin. They've also got young players anchoring the running game. But special teams struggled and so did the defense. Friedgen said he's thinking about making a few changes in all three phases of the game, but declined to elaborate.

He said there was miscommunication on defense, which doesn't bode well for Saturday, considering Cal -- a team that scored more points in two quarters last Saturday (42) than Maryland has done in two games (28) -- will present similar problems offensively.

"One of the things we've got to do a better job of coaching and getting them to talk to each other," Friedgen said. "They were doing a lot of what we call 'freeze' where they set your defense and then the coaches in the press box get a chance to look at it and they call a play based on what your defense did. We had some things in there to show them one thing and then go to another. Sometimes we didn't communicate the call as well as we should've. They had some unbalanced formations ... we failed to recognize those and get the adjustments right."

As for the quarterback play?

"We all could've probably done better," Friedgen said. "Chris (Turner) has played better. That's my take on it."

In his first start of the season, Turner threw one touchdown and three interceptions.

Friedgen said he'd like to get Josh Portis involved more, but it's tough to find spots for him. Portis was in on 11 snaps in the first two games, but 10 of those plays were rushes.

"I think we've got to do more with him, either him throwing it, or him handing it off," Friedgen said. "Something along those lines."

And the veteran offensive line?

"They're not playing as well as they're capable of playing," Friedgen said.

The same can be said for his entire team.

Note: Safety Terrell Skinner is doubtful with a high ankle sprain.