Friedgen lost his coach-in-waiting, James Franklin, to Vanderbilt since the conclusion of the regular season. Supposedly this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. Franklin was given credit for the team's recruiting and it was believed that his departure would drastically reduce the talent level in College Park. This reminds me of Notre Dame deciding Ty Willingham wasn't recruiting well enough and firing him after the 2004 season. The Irish are still trying to exceed the results Willingham produced. On another level, the Notre Dame decision in 2004 also bears some scrutiny here--ND gave the job to Charlie Weis, because of his role as offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. What the world found out is that assistants derive their success from the head coach, not vice-versa. Before you think I've cracked and am comparing Friedgen to Bill Belichick, I'm not. I'm only pointing out one prominent situation that we should look it before attributing Maryland's recent success to Franklin.
I hope Friedgen lands on his feet. There's lot of programs that would be happy to go to seven bowls in ten years and mix a major bowl appearance in there. He's also a terrific offensive mind. A friend of mine who is a Virginia Tech fan pointed out that the Fridge and Frank Beamer are good friends. The most common criticism of the Hokies is they aren't creative enough offensively. Could Friedgen find his way to Blacksburg as a coordinator and rehabilitate himself for another head coaching shot? Whatever the future holds, the big guy deserves best wishes and future success. It's Maryland's loss, not his.
Image from washingtonpost.com
Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily commentary in the NFL, coverage of college basketball. and bowl commentary in college football. He is the author of The Last New Year's, a book that revisits the historic high points of college football's New Year's Day bowl games.