Quotables: Ralph Friedgen

Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen discusses the upcoming game against NC State.

Head Coach Ralph Friedgen On the upcoming game at N.C. State:
The team is in good spirits. They're focused on winning this game [at N.C. State]. We're playing hard enough to win games. I'm proud of our effort. It's our mistakes that are killing us right now, so we need to get better. I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Sam Hollenbach, and I know that he'll do everything in his power to improve.

On Sam's Hollenbach's practice:
He had a good grasp of the gameplan. He's throwing indoors, and it's hard to judge how well a guy is throwing when you're inside. I just have a lot of faith in Sam. We all have good and bad days.

On practice Thursday:
We've played the last four years on the weekend after Thanksgiving. It makes it very hard on our coaches, because we're cramming five days of preparation into about three and a half. Usually a lot of our out-of-state kids go home with our in-state kids. Thursday's practice will just be with the traveling team.

On team morale:
There's a source of frustration. I wouldn't say that we're discouraged, though. I'm pleased with how we're working. I think we're optimistic – that shows from our effort. We're playing hard enough to win. We just have to take advantage of the opportunities and we haven't been doing that.

On positives from Boston College:
I thought our defense and our special teams played very well, and we moved the ball on offense. We just can't turn the ball over, that's all.

On the importance of Saturday's game:
Obviously it's an important game. This team is very deserving of a winning record. We've been in almost every game we've played. We just have to close things out and not beat ourselves. N.C. State's defense is excellent, and they have a lot of speed on offense. They have an inexperienced quarterback, but we've been down that road. The situations are very parallel. We seem to win more on the road than we do at home, so who knows.

On his feelings on the team:
Whether we win or lose on Saturday, I'm going to have the same feeling about this team. I've been pleased with how they've worked. I think they deserve to win Saturday, but win or lose I appreciate their effort for the whole year, and that's not going to change.

On hopes for a bowl:
I'm hoping that they'll look at our past history. I hope they look at how we played against Florida State and Virginia Tech and Boston College.

On the last game at N.C. State:
I remember watching the game over the summer. I knew the result and I was wondering how the heck we won the game. I showed the last quarter to our team just to show them that you never really know. It was one of the most memorable wins we've had in my career, not just at Maryland. When NC State and Maryland get together, it's usually a pretty good football game.

On Hollenbach:
I don't want him to lose his aggressiveness. I want him to build on his confidence, because I have confidence in him. If I didn't, he wouldn't be the quarterback. We all have good and bad days. He'll be fine.

On fifth year senior Ryan McDonald:
We weren't expecting him to be back this year. He'd graduated, but we called him and asked if he was interested in coming back for a fifth year at school. He decided to come back and he's played very well. He's a solid kid and I'm indebted to him for what he's done this year for our program.

On the importance of staying in the bowl cycle:
I like it for our players, because they put so much work into this season. Getting to a bowl was one of the major goals that they had. As far as the program is concerned, it continues our momentum, but if we don't get it, it's not going to stop altogether. We have a young team and they're still going to be good.

On Hollenbach's decision making:
Early on we were reading the right reads and the ball was going to the right place. Even though Vernon [Davis] is having such a spectacular year and it's only human nature to want to get him the ball, you still have to play within the system. The other team knows about Vernon, too. We have to get back to basics and read the coverage. We have to put him in the position to make the right decisions rather than just hang on Vernon.

On staying positive after the Senior Day loss:
You all know how hard I take a loss, but when I look at the film and see guys fighting as hard as they can fight, I don't feel as bad about a loss after watching that. I thought our offensive line improved, actually. Brandon Nixon showed improvement blocking against an All-American. They're doing all they can do. We're getting better. Defensively I was getting concerned early, but after that first drive, they didn't run the ball well. The Boston College line is probably the best offensive line we'll play all year. They only got 14 points against our defense. That's what keeps me so positive.


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