I was as caught off guard as you were Thursday afternoon.
Former University of Maryland Terrapins football coach Ralph Friedgen joined me on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net. My Executive Producer Ryan Chell had reached out to “The Fridge” earlier in the week to coordinate the interview after Baltimore Ravens WR Torrey Smith’s breakout performance against the St. Louis Rams.
Smith had told me in the locker room that while he was hearing criticism from fans and media during Training Camp and the start of the regular season he had reached out to Friedgen. He said Friedgen had helped him stay positive.
With that in mind, I thought it would be nice to chat with Coach Friedgen about Torrey, fellow former Terps WR LaQuan Williams and CB Domonique Foxworth, who the Ravens unfortunately just lost again for the season due to a knee injury.
I had no idea what to expect after I asked Friedgen my first question that wasn’t Ravens related.
Thankfully Patrick Stevens from the Washington Times transcribed the back and forth Thursday evening. You can listen to the entire interview HERE.
Clark: I think the one thing everyone wants to know is what are you up to right now?
Friedgen: Well, right now, I’m sitting on my deck looking over the marsh into the — reading a USA Today.
Clark: Not a bad life.
Friedgen: No, I’m enjoying it very much. I do miss our players. I don’t miss all the other stuff, but I do miss the players. I miss the interaction with them. I miss dealing with them. I’m a little bit surprised I don’t miss all the stuff that goes around.
Clark: Well, you did it —
Friedgen: Forty-three years. I may get back into it. I may have a couple other things that pop up. I may be back, so we’ll see.
Clark: Is it tough for you to watch? Have you sat down and watched any Maryland games or is it tough for you to do that. I know you love the kids, but I also know you’re a Maryland alum, and it’s got to be a little painful.
Friedgen: Well, it’s not painful because I watch it for the kids. I could care less about Maryland. I’ve burned my diploma. I’m flying a Georgia Tech flag right now.
Clark: [laughing] That’s hurtful coach. I don’t want to hear that. I’m a Maryland alum.
Friedgen: Well, they talk about Maryland pride. They didn’t show me a whole lot of Maryland pride, either getting the job or getting fired.
Friedgen: I had a unique experience. I couldn’t get the game last week so I had to go to a sports bar to watch it. I never knew all that stuff went on, people cheering for all this stuff. It was a whole new experience. My daughter came down this week. I went fishing with her. I’ve never done these things with my kids. She caught a 28-inch redfish. She was ecstatic. I never experienced some of this stuff. It’s like my whole life has changed. I’m kind of catching up on some things I probably should have done a lot earlier in my life but haven’t been able to do it.
I’m very aware that a number of Maryland fans are worked up about Friedgen’s response. Given everything that has transpired since December 2010 it is hard to blame him for his angst, but certainly difficult to stomach what he had to say.
I’ll let you decide what you think this time.