Our Potential Is Unlimited

Coach Ralph Friedgen is a man that many in the Yellow Jackets world hold in high regard. He has been referred to has the Albert Einstein of Offensive football. Last season Coach Friedgen took over the Head job at his alma mater the University of Maryland. Recently at an ACC press conference Coach Friedgen had some very interesting takes on his new job and on his upcoming primetime showdown with the Yellow Jackets.


ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. - Following are excerpts from head football coach Ralph Friedgen's session with Atlantic Coast Conference print media at the 2001 ACC Football Kickoff at the Wild Dunes Resort at Charleston, South Carolina's, Isle of Palms:

(on his comfort level in having to deal with such a large media outing for the first time as a head coach)
"I am probably more used to it because I had to deal with media more at Georgia Tech, probably more than most other assistants. I have performed better in certain (media) situations than in others, but I don't feel like it is something that is that unusual for me to have to go through."

(on Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary's comment that the Thursday, October 11th game in Atlanta against Maryland will be approached just like any other game)
"Yeah, sure George is looking at that as just another game. (Laughter) Nah, I'm not going to take any different approach, either. (More laughter) George and I have been scrimmaging against each other for a long time and we used to ride to and from work together so I don't think there is any question that there will be emotions around that game."

(on why Friedgen thinks he can succeed where others have been unable to recently at Maryland)
"When I interviewed, I interviewed with a players committee and it became apparent to me that the kids' concern was whether the coach they had in would win. (Senior linebacker) Aaron Thompson, who was down here yesterday and some of you had the opportunity to meet, sat right in front of me - and he looks right through you when he talks to you - and asked me, `What are you going to do to make us win?.' I thought it was a pretty good question. My answer to him was that first I was going to show them how not to lose, then hopefully they will learn how to do the things that are necessary in learning how to win. And by learning how not to lose I mean we will put an emphasis on limiting penalties, sacks, turnovers and all of the mistakes that can cost you a ball game. I have done that at Georgia Tech and other places and when you can eliminate those, sometimes you win games that you are not supposed to win and confidence grows from there. And confidence is something we are working on right now. I just finished talking to some of the electronic media in the other room and they said that our players were very confident and I was happy to hear that because that means that maybe we have made strides already in the short time that we have been here. They certainly have worked hard enough and prepared hard enough, but I think it isn't until they see success that the tide will really be turned."

(on whether or not Friedgen, prior to being hired at Maryland, was beginning to feel "antsy" about whether or not he would get his first head coaching position)
"I was really at the point where I was wondering about whether or not it would ever happen. I was very fortunate at Georgia Tech - I had a job that I enjoyed and I was working for a person who was not only a good head coach, but also a good friend. I was really at the point where I didn't know if I would ever end up (getting a head coaching job) or not and it all happened so fast...I can only say now that I am thrilled with the results."

(on watching Georgia Tech in their bowl game last year after already taking and starting the Maryland job)
"It was difficult because that team was a very special team to me. I think they were a team that overachieved. At this time last year, they weren't picked very high and they ultimately had a chance to win 10 games, which had only happened three other times at Tech. I was associated with two of those teams and I really hoped that we would be the fourth so I wanted them to win that bowl game very badly and it was disappointing when they didn't."

(on some of the things he has to do as a head coach from a promotional standpoint to help Maryland succeed)
"I feel like I have to sell us in our area, to sell Maryland again, sell season tickets, raise money and do all of the things that it takes for us to be a Top 20 team. These are the things that we are going to have to improve on if we are going to reach the goals that we want to reach. Now, the potential is unlimited. I mean, we haven't hit anywhere near our potential as an athletic program in football. We have in other sports, but not in football."

(on whether the extra roles that come with head coaching have stopped him from coaching as much as he is accustomed to)
"Well, obviously I have so many other things that I need to do that I can't focus like I was, but that is stopping after today. I am going back into coaching. I have already told our athletics director (Deborah Yow) that and she is very approving of it, so it's football season now."

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