Since Edsall arrived in College Park after a successful run at UConn, the University has gone to great lengths to stress “Maryland” and the state in their marketing. Gone from the Capital One Field was the script “Terps” at the 50 yard line, instead replaced by a bold “Maryland.”
The many combinations of uniform schemes (and even the other threads worn Monday night) all feature prominently the many colors of the flag.
Edsall’s mark is apparently going to be all about “Maryland.”
The only problem with any of this is that for as much publicity as both the team and Under Armour received Monday night (why else would Chad Johnson even know what colors Maryland wore?), there has of course been a backlash.
LeBron James Tweeted “Ewwww” after seeing the uniforms. ESPN’s popular “SportsCenter” program dedicated an entire segment Monday night to negative (but funny) Tweets about the unis. It is easy to imagine a number of high profile sports programs (including the very popular “Reality Check” with Glenn Clark 2-6pm on AM1570 WNST in Baltimore) spending at least part of their day Tuesday discussing the uniforms. The discussion will not always paint Maryland in a positive light.
With that negativity already coming, there will be additional pressure for Maryland to deliver on the field. While fans have enjoyed poking fun at Oregon’s crazy uniforms, the Ducks have silenced their critics by delivering conference championships and reaching the BCS Championship Game.
Maryland has played a BCS bowl only once since the inception of the coalition.
If Maryland wants to withstand the backlash that will come with the uniforms, they will have to keep winning.
It won’t be easy for a team that struggled to defeat a depleted Hurricanes side. It won’t be easy for a team that allowed Hurricanes RB Lamar Miller to rush for 119 yards on just 18 attempts. It won’t be easy for a team that came out of the game with bumps and bruises for S Eric Franklin and others. It won’t be easy for a program that hasn’t won ten games since 2003.
Maryland added an additional level of pressure to a team that was just good enough to win the Military Bowl and see their coach fired a season ago.
To their credit, Maryland players seemed unfazed by the additional pressure.
“I didn’t notice it to be honest” O’Brien said of the additional pressure. “I feel like after the first play, after you get hit the first time-they might be, but you’re not thinking about what you have on. There’s enough pressure as it is converting 3rd and 9.”
Maryland has a difficult road in the ACC this season, and perhaps an even more difficult showdown with West Virginia looming in less than two weeks. They’ll have little time to appreciate their season opening victory before even tougher work begins.
But if opponents think more about their now very popular uniforms than they do about the players under them, perhaps Christopher Walken’s character will truly be correct.