Jim, Moultrie, Ga.: It appears Coach Friedgen is a good coach but a poor recruiter. Why are so many potential recruits leaving and going elsewhere? Will Maryland football return to the big time? I am tired of my friends here in Georgia ragging me about my university's poor football proformance. Is his job safe?
Heather A. Dinich: Hi Jim. Ralph isn't going to get them all, but you have to look at the reality of the situation. There is an unusually high amount of talent in the state this year - or so high school coaches have told me. It's hardly as if Maryland is the only school recruiting these kids. Virginia, Virginia Tech, Penn State - all programs that made it to bowls when Maryland didn't - are going after the same kids.
This past season was only the first that Ralph had all of his own players, and at least two - Vernon Davis and D'Qwell Jackson - are legit NFL prospects. Maryland's recruiting class is currently ranked 19th by Rivals.com. That's not bad. Ralph's job is safe if the Terps make it to a bowl next season. He's got a 10-year contract. Just tell your friends in Georgia the Bulldogs should start recruiting more out of West Virginia.
Richard, Locust Grove, Ga.: Why in the world would Maryland drop West Virginia from their schedule? It's our best non-conference game of the year and it's a great regional game. Maryland won't be a top program if it's worried about how tough the schedule is!
Heather A. Dinich: Because they can, and it didn't cost anything. Since I'm the beat reporter for the team, I've got to be careful I'm not editorializing in these answers, but don't you think that before Maryland becomes a "top program," it has to get to a bowl game?
I think that was the line of thinking, as AD Debbie Yow pointed out how much more difficult the ACC has gotten with the addition of BC, Va Tech and Miami. But at the time they scheduled Cal, the Golden Bears were a losing Pac-10 program. There are arguments to both sides. All I can tell you is what I was told.
Paul, Ellicott City: Heather, is it true that Derrick Williams has a vendetta out for Maryland since his father was terminated several years ago from Maryland and one of their assistant coaches was also fired when he was the head coach at Maryland?
Heather A. Dinich: Penn State's sports information department never granted my interview request with Derrick, and when I called Derrick on his cell phone, he said he couldn't talk to me, so I don't know what's going on in his head.
Larry, Washington D.C.: Will Melvin Alaeze, Morgan Green and Chris Clinton be enrolled in the spring semester?
Heather A. Dinich: All three are currently in the admissions process. There's been no determination on any one of them being here in the spring - yet.
Stuart, Jacksonville, Fla.: How does this year's recruiting class in football and basketball stack up against the rest of the ACC? Are there any big names out there that are leaning toward Maryland but have yet to commit?
Heather A. Dinich: So far in football, Florida State (No. 7) and Miami (No. 16) are the only two schools ranked higher than Maryland (19) by Rivals.com. That's the siteI usually refer to for recruiting info. Antonio Logan-El, a four-star lineman from Forestville, seems to be the biggest name still in limbo. Last I talked to him, his loyalty seemed to be with Maryland. We'll find out soon.
As for hoops, Maryland's class of 2006 is farther down the pack. UNC, Georgia Tech, Duke and Florida State are all ranked higher, in that order. So is neighboring Georgetown. Gary Williams got what he was looking for, though, in a much-needed true point guard - Eric Hayes.
Jimmy, Hanover, Pa.: How come there was no TV broadcast of the Terps men's basketball game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi?
Heather A. Dinich: Seriously? I dunno, maybe it was because the Rose Bowl was on, or a Law & Order rerun or something. You can catch them playing Duke at 9 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN. Every other game this season is televised.