I'm not a huge fan of providing unedited transcripts of interviews that involve multiple reporters, but there was one snippet Monday that is worth passing along.
And to Ralph Friedgen's credit, he bit his tongue (while smiling) rather than say how he really felt:
REPORTER: On a scale of 1 to 10, how important would you say football is to your school's identity, one being little to no impact and 10 being it's really important, it's the first thing people think about?
FRIEDGEN: I don't know if I want to answer that question.
REPORTER: I have to ask everybody, please answer.
FRIEDGEN: Can I answer that when we get a new president?
REPORTER: Sure, you can answer it again then.
The reporter was not a Maryland beat writer, and clearly working on an overarching project. However, as someone who does cover Maryland on a regular basis, it was easy to find this hilarious. Each of Friedgen's replies generated laughter from those who have spent time around the Terps in recent years.
Friedgen, of course, can't be caught stating the obvious --- Maryland football is dwarfed in terms of attention in the D.C. market by four pro teams, in the Baltimore market by two teams and on his own campus by a basketball team.
There might not be another large state school football program in the six automatic qualifying BCS conferences as buried in its own area as Maryland. Perhaps Rutgers?
In some ways, it is the greatest conundrum facing the program. Ten-win seasons clearly generate excitement, but 8-5 won't move the needle locally --- especially with basketball starting at the same time football is jockeying to go to Charlotte or Shreveport. Friedgen couldn't permanently change that mindset by himself, and the odds are against anyone from pulling it off.
To answer the question Friedgen wisely dodged, football probably checks in around a 2.5 or a 3 at Maryland. For a team coming off the first double-digit loss season in school history, that's probably about right.