What a mess they have on their hands down at College Park.
Or do they?
On the outside, it would appear they’re drinking from the fire hose, drenched in the stink of a 2-10 football season and completely unsure of where to go from here, with fans, boosters and the media chasing coach Randy Edsall with a pitchfork and demanding some sort of immediate improvement despite the fact that they season is over with at Maryland.
That’s on the outside.
On the inside, the turmoil might not be percolating nearly as much.
Randy Edsall is already working on next season. The recruiting window opened this past Sunday and the Terps coach was on the trail, talking to high schoolers about signing on with his program.
While the rest of the DC/Baltimore market continued to stew about the 2-win season, Edsall was too busy worrying about 2012 to spend any time lamenting the woes of 2011.
Frankly, that’s how most coaches are, particularly after a loss and/or a losing season.
They simply move on to the next game or the next season or the next challenge.
I don’t think Randy Edsall can explain what happened to his football team in 2011. No matter what he says, the majority of people who follow the program will claim he’s making an excuse.
And those folks just want wins…they don’t want to hear about losing and reasons for it.
So that’s why Edsall is off on the recruiting trail. Sitting around College Park and trying to defend his team’s horrible first season isn’t going to get him more players. It’s only going to put him further behind.
I’m not going to defend Edsall…and 2-10…and bad attendance…and home butt-whoopings from the likes of Temple and Virginia and Wake Forest.
There IS some defense for it, by the way, because Maryland – already young at some key positions on the field – was shredded by injuries from week #1 until the very last week of the season. But every team gets injuries along the way and to say Maryland’s first-aid kit was used more than any other ACC team would be excuse-making.
Injuries DO matter, though. Just ask the Indianapolis Colts.
In Edsall’s case, there’s only one thing that will prove he was the right choice at College Park.
Can he do it? Can Randy Edsall bring the Maryland football program back to life after a 2-win season and player defections and the general apathy and malaise that his team displayed over the season’s final month?
I don’t know the answer to that.
As a Maryland supporter, I’d like to do the rah-rah thing and say, “Sure he can!” but I don’t know if what happened this season is repairable.
There was A LOT of damage done, but nearly all of that damage was done with players that Edsall inherited from the Ralph Friedgen era.
This much I know about Edsall: His style is unique. He’s tough. He’s demanding. Some of his rules and codes of conduct seem a little too overbearing given the fact that he’s dealing with college athletes.
But those things don’t make him a bad football coach. They make his style one that you need to be willing to accept if you want to play football for Randy Edsall.
As Jay-Z says at the beginning of the song “Hollywood” — “It ain’t for everybody…”
Edsall’s style certainly “ain’t for everybody”.
And after a few years of Ralph Friedgen’s boy scout camp atmosphere, a lot of the players weren’t ready, willing or able to come to grips with the way Edsall runs his program.
Once the losing started, the majority of the guys who mattered on the field simply bailed on Edsall. They gave an effort…but as the final Saturday collapse (see next page, please)