ACC: Dave Sollazzo

Recruiting rewind: Maryland

February, 4, 2010
It could have been a lot worse.

Instead, there is no shame in the recruiting class Maryland put together, despite its 2-10 finish in 2009. The Terps reeled in 19 players with an emphasis on defense, including four linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs. They took a huge step in improving the play and depth up front, as half of the offensive signees were linemen. The staff also added two four-star players in quarterback Tyler Smith and defensive end/linebacker Javarie Johnson.

"I believe that this was the most challenging class, but for whatever reason it really worked out well,” said recruiting coordinator Dave Sollazzo. “We work hard every year. ... Did we have to work harder this year? We probably did. But when you are doing it, you don't realize that you work hard every year. There is no doubt it was more challenging coming off the season that we had. But then again, I think we surprised ourselves. We ended up having a really, really good group here."

The main thing the Terps did is add more speed and athleticism on defense, which should help as Maryland enters its second season under coordinator Don Brown, who is also the cornerbacks coach. Maryland will lose three key players in the secondary, so it was an area of focus in this class. Brown has been encouraged by what he has seen of defensive back Mario Rowson so far.

“He has tremendous length and he's a guy that can match up to big receivers,” Brown said. “He can play press. He can get his hands on them and cover two concepts, physical rerouting concepts, and he's a guy that can come back to the receivers. I'm challenging him to do that.”

The one good thing about not going to a bowl game? It gave coach Ralph Friedgen more time to concentrate on recruiting.

"I think tremendous credit goes to our coaches,” Friedgen said. “It's been a little different for me, given the fact that we didn't go to a bowl game this year, so I've been out there for the last six weeks. Our coaches are the people that go out and find the kids and evaluate the kids. I'm there at the end. It got better as it went along. Once we got going, it was just a matter of a lot of hard work by our staff. I think we were able to get a very good class together. "

Terps' solution: recruiting

October, 27, 2009
Posted by'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.



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