Tag Archive | "Danny O’Brien"


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Posted on 08 September 2011 by Tom Federline

“Oh What a Night” – (Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons). Byrd Stadiun was-a-rockin’. Terps 32 – “It sucks to be – U” 24. Nice shirts by the way – Terp Students. I was lucky enough to attend Monday nights show from a dry vantage point. While my daughter experienced her first Terp game (as a student), down amongst the raucous student section in the rain. One classic comment from the younger generation, “What rain?” God bless her and the “student wedge”. It was one of those “Proud to be a Terp Night.” Of course, the Terps winning this entertaining athletic event, helped.

There actually was a football game played that night. Not just the unveiling of a new sports uniform. Contrary to the majority of  reports by sports radio talk shows and news telecasts the following day. It was a darn good game that was played at Byrd Stadium. A lot of action. A lot of offense. Not much defense (unless you were the Terps scoring defense). No huddle, quick snaps, substitutions, illegal substitutions, to many kids on the field, not enough kids on the field……….I’m telling you…….one of the best football shows I’ve seen in quite some time. Best part about it? NO, it was not the new uniforms – the topic discussed Ad Nauseum by the media. The best part was………simply the moment. The Terps and fans in Byrd Stadium – Seizing the Moment.

New coach, new uniforms, new attitude! It worked. Yes, the “caught cheating” Hurricanes were missing 4 starters and 4 other players due to “impermissible benefits”. So what? The University, the team deserved the penalty, if not a stiffer one. Bottom line – Terps won. If the NCAA really wanted to make a statement – the “U” would have been sanctioned all year. The Terps won. It wasn’t pretty at times. But other times, you were out of your seat screaming. i.e. the defensive team leader – Joe Vellano rumbling down the sideline just before half. That Vellano guy, he is a fiery one. Great to see his encouragement and passion on the field with his teamates. The Terps defense has no “stickers” ala Wujciak from last year and they are weak up the middle. But they play as a team and appear to have potential.

Offensively, it’s the sophmore #5 O’Brien show with #12 Dorsey and #17McCree in supporting roles. The line, the no huddle, the poise for a bunch of kids first game with that type of game plan was impressive. I gave you the numbers of the young stars, because as you noticed there were “no names” on the jerseys. You go – Randy Edsall – it all worked Monday Night.

Ok, briefly – the uniforms. I liked them. Tough at first, remember I’m old school and a Terp alum. First impression, where’s my Red/White? After the first 5 minutes, “those are pretty cool. Maybe it was that first drive that made them that much cooler. Who cares?  The Maryland State Flag was being prominently displayed over a national TV audience. Yeah, baby! I did not dig the whole “Fashion Show” deal the week before. What are football players doing in a fashion show? I may not dig the hundred combinations they may “shell” out. But those uniforms worked in my book, at least “live” they did. And for the astute small army of readers that follow this blog – how about a history lesson? What is that design on the Maryland Flag/ Maryland Terp helmets? Most people get the one design right – the Black and Gold – Arms of the Calvert family – associated with Lord Baltmore. Most people do not know the Red and White Arms are of the Crossland Family. So yes, I guess if you are not a Marylander, do not know State flags or just have nothing else to complain about, you may have a negative take on the new uni’s displayed. Get a life.


Byrd Stadium was electric. You could feel the emotion. It was/is the Twilight of a new era in college football at UMCP. Even through the rain, wind, humidity and chill in the air – Maryland faithful were out in force. Tailgating from the Comcast Center, to Parking Lot 4, to the far side of Parking Lot 1 and all through campus,  just a great college atmosphere. The only crime committed – as I have stated before – is the limited seating for college students.  The “small wedge” in the Northwest corner of the lower bowl. The section was packed 1-1/2 hours prior to game time. Those few thousand students fueled the fire throughout the stadium. Probably could have done without the ‘FU” interjection into “Rock n’ Roll Part 2”, but that’s another story. Other than that, there were times I wished I was 30 years younger and down there in the heat/wet of it.

UMCP faithful – the Terps have a new coach. Yes, he went for it on 4th and 8 – Fridge would have punted. Really, no matter what happens the rest of the year, this past Labor Day Monday night in College Park, MD  a new era in Maryland football arrived. You GO TERPS!





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All Eyes on Terps in Season Opening Win Over Miami

Posted on 06 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — “You know while the Yankees always win, Frank?”

“‘Cause they have Mickey Mantle?”

“No, it’s ’cause the other teams can’t stop staring at those damn pinstripes.”

While I will spare you from going into the details of two mice falling into a bucket of cream, I will tell you that the above line (from the movie Catch Me If You Can) rang in my head over and over during the University of Maryland’s season opening 32-24 win over the University of Miami Monday night at a sold out Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.

The exchange between Frank Abignale Sr. and Frank Abignale Jr. set the tone for the son to use elaborate distractions while committing major international check fraud crimes.

The only thing fraudulent about the Terrapins’ victory was their red zone offense, but I’ll save those crimes for another day.

After unveiling some 32 new Under Armour uniform schemes at an elaborate campus event a few weeks ago, the Terps managed to cause a bit of an internet firestorm. The attention (and the positive and negative feedback that came with it) served as great publicity for UA founder Kevin Plank (a former Terps special teams ace) and for the football team itself. While the attention surrounding Monday night’s season opener was mostly about the fallout from the Nevin Shapiro scandal in Coral Gables, the Terps did manage to generate some interest with the question “what will they wear”?

After warming up in more traditional colors before Monday night’s season opener, the Terps returned to the locker room and (with the help of a number of Under Armour reps) changed into some unique duds.


Not even amongst the 32 prior combos, Under Armour’s “PRIDE” uniform placed the colors of the Maryland state flag quite prominently on the team’s helmets, shoulders, gloves and cleats.

Within moments of the team’s appearance on the ESPN broadcast, Twitter and Facebook were on fire with reactions. Reactions came from far and wide, with even icons like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony sharing thoughts about them.

Certainly not all of the thoughts shared were positive.

The game practically played a supporting role to the uniforms from that point on. While Abignale Sr. believed less focus was on Mantle than the unis the Bronx Bombers donned, I can say with certainly less focus was placed on the debut of new Terrapins head coach Randy Edsall or the performance of quarterback Danny O’Brien (31-44 for 348 yards with a TD and a pick) than the team’s gaudy threads.

The team itself didn’t find out what they would be wearing into the contest until earlier in the day.

“You should have seen today in the team meeting. We came over and had a walkthrough, (then we went) back and had a Special Teams meeting” Edsall said after the game. “I talked to the guys for a little bit, I said ‘I’ve got two things I’ve gotta show you.’ I put a video on, (we) showed them a highlight-type video and then we had a video that had the uniforms, because they hadn’t seen them. You should have been in that room when this video came on that Under Armour did-that they played when we came out. I think we blew the roof off the hotel. Those kids were so excited.”

“It’s about the pride” Edsall added. “They’re playing not only for themselves, but they’re playing for every Maryland player that went through this program. They’re playing for every person in this state. That’s what we’re trying to build.”

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Maryland Could Do Much Worse Than Becoming “Oregon of the East”

Posted on 24 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

I wandered down to College Park Monday night to see the Maryland Terrapins unveil their brand new Under Armour football uniforms at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

The entire event was highlighted by Terps DL AJ Francis, who delivered a Ric Flair-style entrance and then capitalized by giving his best WWE promo to WNSTV…

(If you’re interested in more pictures of players in the uniforms, UMTerps.com has a gallery, including the photo of QB Danny O’Brien below.)

In the 24 hours following the unveiling of the uniforms, I’ve heard/read a ton of responses. Just amongst WNST staff members, I’ve seen Nestor Aparicio use terms like “tacky” and “ugly” while our youngest contributor Peter DiLutis described the threads as “SICK” via Twitter.

For the most part, bloggers and analysts have been less than positive in their comments about the new duds, while younger Maryland fans and the players themselves have offered overwhelmingly positive feedback.

(For what it’s worth, I think some of the uniform schemes are fine-in fact some are pretty cool. Some of the color combinations however should just be avoided altogether. I’m not particularly enamored by the font or the numbers, but I like the state flag use and I will admit that I dig the turtle shell helmet scheme. That being said, I’m a Maryland fan. It’s unlikely they’d create a uniform scheme I completely hated.)

One of the most common themes in the light of the uniform unveiling, which included significant involvement of UA CEO and former Maryland Special Teams captain Kevin Plank, was that it appeared as though Maryland was trying to become the “Oregon of the East.”

Oregon athletics have been widely known to receive significant financial support to Ducks alum and Nike CEO Phil Knight. A high profile part of Nike’s involvement with Oregon athletics has been the school’s ever changing football uniforms, which Baltimore Ravens TE Ed Dickson and his former teammates prominently displayed in pictures like the one below…

We’ve had plenty of fun pointing out the over the top nature of Oregon uniforms in recent seasons. The uniforms they wore for the BCS Championship Game this past January were the subject of a number of giggles throughout the sports world, including a few comments about how parts of the uniform appeared to be designed by highlighter.

Sounds like a nice problem to have, doesn’t it?

You see, critics of the Oregon uniforms were complaining about the threads the Pac 10 champions wore while they were PLAYING FOR THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.

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Terrapins QB O’Brien Named to Manning Award Watch List

Posted on 15 August 2011 by WNST Staff

Sophomore QB now a candidate for three national awards

NEW ORLEANS – Maryland’s Danny O’Brien was named to the watch list Monday for the Manning Award which honors the top quarterback in the country.

For O’Brien, the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year and a 2011 consensus preseason first team all-league pick, it marks his third appearance on a national award watch list (also Davey O’Brien and Maxwell).

The sophomore from Kernersville, N.C., saw action in all 13 games last season, posting a 7-3 mark as a starter. He ranked fifth in the FBS among freshmen in passing efficiency (134.5 rating) and threw for 2,438 yards, the sixth-best effort for a first-year player in ACC history.

O’Brien is one of 31 players on the Manning Award preseason list and the only one from the ACC.

The list of 10 finalists will be released on Monday, Nov. 28. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 18.

The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only quarterback award that includes the candidates’ bowl performances in its balloting.

– Terps –

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Two More Preseason National Award Lists for Terps

Posted on 16 July 2011 by WNST Staff

Meggett placed on Doak Walker watch list; O’Brien on the Davey O’Brien list

DALLAS – Davin Meggett and Danny O’Brien, both expected to be keys for the Maryland offense in the fall, earned spots on preseason national award lists Friday.

Meggett was named to the watch list for the Doak Walker Award (top running back in country), while O’Brien was placed on the preseason list for the Davey O’Brien Award (nation’s top quarterback).

A 2011 consensus preseason All-ACC choice, Meggett ranks 20th in school history in career rushing yards (1,515) and his 14 career rushing touchdowns are tied for 17th. The senior from Surrattsville, Md., led the team with a career-high 720 rushing yards in 2010.

Handing off to Meggett in the fall will be O’Brien who was the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year and a 2011 consensus preseason first team all-league pick.

The sophomore from Kernersville, N.C., saw action in all 13 games last season, posting a 7-3 mark as a starter. He ranked fifth in the FBS among freshmen in passing efficiency (134.5 rating) and threw for 2,438 yards, the sixth-best effort for a first-year player in ACC history.

O’Brien, who is already on the watch list for the Maxwell Award (top player in the nation) is one of three quarterbacks from the ACC on the 38-man Davey O’Brien list, while Meggett is one of five league running backs among the 51 players on the Doak Walker list.

The O’Brien Award list will be narrowed to 16 semifinalists on Oct. 24 and three finalists on Nov. 21. Ten semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award will be announced on Nov. 11.

The winners of both awards will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 8.

To view the complete watch list for the Doak Walker Award go to:


To view the complete watch list for the Davey O’Brien Award go to:


Terp Notes:

Uplifting Athletes Raises Money for Charity: Maryland’s chapter of Uplifting Athletes, a national nonprofit organization, held its second annual `Lift for Life’ event Tuesday in order to raise money to fight cystic fibrosis, a deadly disease which affects near 30,000 Americans. Almost the entire team participated in a number of strength and conditioning drills with donations totaling nearly $9,000 as of Wednesday, which is almost triple last year’s output. Funds will be donated to the Boomer Esiason Foundation which helps cystic fibrosis research. For more information, go to: http://www.umterps.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/071311aab.html

An Evening with Randy Edsall: The Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards will hold ‘An Evening with Randy Edsall’ on Monday, Aug. 1. The event is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. and includes a program surrounding Edsall’s career and his plans for the Maryland football program. For more information, go to: http://www.baberuthmuseum.com/press/homenews/index.html?article_id=218

Upcoming Dates for Maryland Football

· July 24-25 – ACC Media Day in Pinehurst, N.C.

· Aug. 4 – Edsall preseason news conference (time TBA)

· Aug. 8 – Players report to preseason camp

· Aug. 9 – First day of preseason practice

· Aug. 16 – Media Day (time TBA)

· Sept. 5 – Season opener vs. Miami

– Terps –

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Maryland DL Vellano Named to Lombardi Award Watch List

Posted on 12 July 2011 by WNST Staff

Junior defensive lineman one of 19 players from the ACC on the preseason list

HOUSTON – Maryland defensive lineman Joe Vellano was placed on the watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award.

The Rotary Lombardi Award Committee made the announcement Tuesday with Vellano among 19 players from the Atlantic Coast Conference on the preseason list which will be periodically updated and revised up to the first round of voting to determine the 12 semifinalists in October.

Vellano, a native of Rexford, N.Y., emerged in the spring of 2010 and has since been atop the depth chart at defensive tackle.

A 2011 consensus preseason first team All-ACC selection, Vellano started at defensive tackle in all 13 games last year. The junior led the team with five sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss, and his 4.9 tackle-per-game average was fourth in the ACC among defensive linemen.

Vellano is the third Terrapin to be placed on a preseason national award list, joining Kenny Tate (Lott, Trophy, Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy) and Danny O’Brien (Maxwell Award).

Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense of defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, and linebackers who set up no more than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage.

The 42nd Rotary Lombardi Award banquet will be held on Dec. 6-7, 2011 at Reliant Center in Houston.

To view the complete watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award go to:


Upcoming Dates for Maryland Football

· July 24-25 – ACC Media Day in Pinehurst, N.C.

· Aug. 8 – Players report to preseason camp

· Aug. 9 – First day of preseason practice

· Aug. 16 – Media Day

· Sept. 5 – Season opener vs. Miami

– Terps –

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Things In Sports We Can Simply Do Without

Posted on 12 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

This week’s Tuesday Top 7 was dedicated to the great Chris Berman from ESPN. As I was following on Twitter Monday night while watching the Home Run Derby, I was reminded that I wasn’t the only person watching that was simply tired of the Chris Berman “shtick.”

With that in mind, our Tuesday Top 7 topic was “The Top 7 Things In Sports We Can Simply Do Without.” Self-explanatory, yes?

Glenn Clark’s list…

7. Colin Cowherd


6. Having 50 different “cups” in soccer


5. NBA players getting out of the way so they don’t get dunked on

4. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” anywhere but Wrigley Field

3. Preseason All-Conference teams


2. The 4th NFL preseason game


1. Major League Baseball’s “unwritten rules”


Drew Forrester’s list…

7. Day long Super Bowl pre-game show

6. Stalling in lacrosse


5. Tampering rule in NFL preventing you from discussing free agents


4. One stroke penalty for hitting ball out of bounds in golf


3. MLB “Umpire Snobbery”


2. Baltimore Colts recognized as Indianapolis Colts at Pro Football Hall of Fame

1. Guaranteed multi-year contracts


If you missed the explanation of why these players made the list on “The Morning Reaction” Tuesday on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…


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Terps Safety Tate Continues to Receive National Attention

Posted on 09 July 2011 by WNST Staff

Senior placed on watch list for Nagurski Trophy Friday; Eight Terps on preseason All-ACC teams

DALLAS – Kenny Tate earned his second honor of the week Friday as he was placed on the watch list for the 2011 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is award annually to the nation’s best defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

On Tuesday, Tate, a 2010 first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, was placed on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which also honors the top defender in the nation.

The senior, one of 14 ACC players on the 87-man preseason Nagurski list, is expected to key a Maryland defense which has seven starters back from last season, including all-league defensive lineman Joe Vellano and linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield, who had 88 tackles in 2010 and is a preseason all-conference choice.

Tate, who moved from safety to linebacker in the spring, was among the more productive defenders in the nation a year ago.

He led the ACC and tied for 15th in the FBS in forced fumbles (0.31 per game/four). Tate was also the second-leading tackler in the ACC among defensive backs (7.7 per game) and posted 100 stops on the season, the first Maryland secondary player in 10 years to reach that mark.

Tate, who also had three interceptions and 3.5 sacks in 2010, was on the spring watch list for the Lott Trophy, which honors the top impact defensive player in the country.

Players may be added or deleted from the Bronko Nagurski Watch List during the season. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists on Nov. 17. The annual banquet will be on Dec. 12 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.

For more information on the Nagurski Watch List go to:


Terp Notes

Terps Aid Uplifting Athletes: The Maryland Chapter of Uplifting Athletes will hold its second annual “Lift For Life” event Tuesday. The strength and conditioning competition begins at 3:30 p.m. and will feature members of the Terrapin football team. “Lift For Life” will be held on the practice field adjacent to Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. The Maryland Chapter of Uplifting Athletes has chosen to help fight cystic fibrosis, a rare disease that affects near 30,000 Americans. The chapter’s goal is to donate any contributions made by spectators and fans at the event to the Boomer Esiason Foundation for cystic fibrosis research. For more information, go to:http://www.umterps.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/063011aaa.html

Eight Terps Earn Preseason Conference Honors: Eight Maryland football players were placed on preseason All-Atlantic Coast Conference teams this summer in a variety of publications. Danny O’Brien, Kenny Tate, Joe Vellano and Tony Logan highlight the list as all four were consensus first-team choices. In addition to being a first team All-ACC selection, Lindy’s also had O’Brien as the league’s MVP in 2011. Other Terps receiving preseason All-ACC consideration were Cameron Chism, A.J. Francis, Demetrius Hartsfield and Davin Meggett. The Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA) preseason all-league team will be announced during the ACC Football Kickoff (July 24-25). A complete list of the Terps’ preseason honors to date, can be found here: http://www.umterps.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/070811aad.html

Upcoming Dates for Maryland Football

· July 24-25 – ACC Media Day in Pinehurst, N.C.

· Aug. 8 – Players report to preseason camp

· Aug. 9 – First day of preseason practice

· Aug. 16 – Media Day

· Sept. 5 – Season opener vs. Miami

– Terps –

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Terps finish first spring under Edsall with Red-White game

Posted on 30 April 2011 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Following their first spring under new coach Randy Edsall, the Maryland Terrapins celebrated a month of practices with the annual Red-White game before a sparse crowd at Byrd Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Despite a tight-lipped demeanor from Edsall and plenty of mystery over what the Terps will really look like under the new regime, quarterback Danny O’Brien and the starting offense shined in a 35-7 victory for the Red over the White.

“I thought the guys really competed,” Edsall said. “I thought they had fun. That’s really what the spring game is all about.”

Trying to build off his ACC Rookie of the Year season in 2010, O’Brien threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Ronnie Tyler on the first play from scrimmage and finished the day 16 of 23 with 199 yards and two touchdown passes, guiding the starting offense to touchdowns on its first three possessions. Tyler caught a second touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 27-yard toss to cap off a 12-play, 81-yard drive.

“It was nice,” said O’Brien, who also tossed two interceptions. “The offense came together. We watered down, I think, what we are going to do on offense. We only ran like half our playbook, so we really wanted to focus on executing.”

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Edsall and several players — O’Brien included — would not reveal the specifics of what kind of wrinkles we might see offensively under new coordinator Gary Crowton, but the early return seemed favorable after O’Brien’s productive day and a combined 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns from the running back tandem of senior Davin Meggett and sophomore D.J. Adams. The offensive tempo appeared quicker than a year ago as the unit went no-huddle at different times in the game.

“There are some things that are a lot different, but there are some things that are the exact same thing we did last year, we just call it something else,” O’Brien said. “It just depends on what facet of it. The run game I think is a lot different. There’s some new wrinkles in the passing game that we never did last year, but a lot of it is the same concept. It’s been an adjustment, but it’s coming pretty well.”

With plenty of talented players returning from a team that finished 9-4 in Ralph Friedgen’s final season as head coach, Edsall will lean on his young quarterback to lead a smooth transition despite the loss of starting receivers Torrey Smith and Adrian Cannon. O’Brien will depend on Tyler, Kevin Dorsey, Quintin McCree, and Kerry Boykins to pick up the slack after fulfilling smaller roles in the past.

“[O’Brien’s] knowledge of what we want to do and his command of what we want to do, like I said, you could just see that getting better with each practice,” Edsall said. “I thought he looked very comfortable, very poised out there today. My whole thing is I just think he’s just going to get better and better with every day that we practice.”

Developing the type of chemistry with the remaining receivers that he shared with Smith — drafted in the second round by the Ravens on Friday night — will be critical, especially with early tests against Miami and West Virginia to begin the season.

“We had the chemistry before, already coming into [the spring], but you obviously get more reps, especially with this offense,” Dorsey said. “We’re throwing the ball a lot more, so we’re obviously getting more chances to get the ball and really run routes and get our timing together.

While the offense thrived in the first half, that success came at the expense of the starting defense, which allowed 199 total yards in the first quarter before settling in. Edsall explained how the defense had also started slowly in some of the team’s scrimmages throughout the spring.

“You’ve got to remember we didn’t let them do anything,” said Edsall about the defensive struggles. “We just basically played a couple coverages and really one front the whole time. We had no movement.”

New defensive coordinator Todd Bradford will apparently rely on far less blitzing than Don Brown, requiring defensive backs to cover longer and the defensive line to get to the quarterback. Seven defensive starters return this season including first-team all-ACC safety Kenny Tate, who has moved to the “Star” position, a hybrid strong safety and outside linebacker position.

The unit as a whole figures to play a more disciplined brand of defense with more emphasis on fulfilling assignments and less on creating chaos in the offensive backfield.

“We just have a lot more responsibility and we just have a lot more things that we have to do in this defense, and I like it,” said cornerback Dexter McDougle, who gave up the opening touchdown pass on a busted coverage. “I feel like it’s better for us because we get to really get a feel for the position and we’ve learned so much so far playing for [Edsall]. I feel like I’ve learned more in one week than I learned in a whole year.”

With the all-around vanilla nature of the spring game, it remains to be seen what Maryland will look when it takes the field at Byrd Stadium on Labor Day night against Miami. While we don’t know how high Edsall can ultimately take a program many feel had plateaued under Ralph Friedgen, expectations are as high as they’ve been in College Park for quite some time.

“I’m very pleased with the spring in terms of how we started and how we finished,” Edsall said. “I thought we made good progress throughout the spring. We still have a lot of work to do. But again, I thought the overall attitude and intensity was good. I thought the players really understand what we’re looking for, how we have to practice, what we have to do in order to win championships.”

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Tyler Cierski

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Despite recent coaching departures-including most recently Don Brown-Terps football coach Edsall pleased with first Signing Day

Posted on 08 February 2011 by Ryan Chell

Last week, high school Signing Day for the most part was pushed under the rug because of all the hype leading up to Super Bowl XLV.

But one person hard at work in the few short weeks he has been at the helm of the Terps has been new football coach Randy Edsall.

Edsall’s recruiting class was also pushed under the rug due to the fact that the “experts” didn’t give the first-year Terps coach much credit for what he brought to College Park.

Edsall-hired as the new football coach of Maryland in the coming days before coaches were allowed to hit the recruiting trail back in January-had a shorter time to work with than most coaches implementing his own recruiting plan following the firing of  Ralph Friedgen.

Edsall joined Thyrl Nelson of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to discuss his results from last week’s Signing Day, and with the National Letters of Intent still finding his way to his desk as of Monday, he is pleased with the results and likes the way the team will be shaping up for the 2011 season.

And despite the recent departures of some of Friedgen’s former assistants-guys like James Franklin(who left to become the head football coach at Vanderbilt)-and defensive coordinator Don Brownwho just this past week announced that he will take the same position at Edsall’s old stomping grounds at UConn-the recruits still saw College Park as the place to be.

“It’s been a situation where we were able to maintain most of the guys who were committed here previous to my arrival,” Edsall told Nelson. “And we were able to get three or four guys where we had spots that needed to get done.”

Ralph Friedgen in his decade-long run at Maryland was always good at recruiting the best of athletes to become Terps-guys like Vernon Davis, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Shawne Merriman, and Torrey Smith-and Edsall said that his first recruiting class at Maryland hasn’t missed that beat either.

“You know, being able to maintain the speed and athleticism that we had on the defensive side and I thought we got three quality receivers so overall I was pleased with the work and the final tally of these twenty-one recruits.”

The recruit that has jumped off the charts-or at least highlights the receivers Edsall signed-is Parkwood High School (North Carolina) wide receiver Marcus Leak, the 44th ranked wide receiver prospect in the country.

Leak is along the same lines of a Torrey Smith, and has shown on the prep level to have adequate speed and impressive size and bulk.

He is also expected to be a force in the return game when he suits up for Edsall on the field.

Receivers coach Lee Hull was one of a handful Friedgen assistants to remain on Edsall’s staff, and Hull will no doubt have an impact on the grooming of Leak to help him hit the field quicker and perform better when he does hit Byrd Stadium.

Another prospect catching attention and praise from Edsall and others is Hoschtown, Georgia native Tyler Cierski, a protypical fullback at 6’1, 240 pounds.

Tyler Cierski

Cierski was rated as the #2 fullback in the nation according to ESPN.com, and his signing could be attention to the fact that Edsall is going to commit his teams to running the football effectively and not relying entirely on the shoulders of his ACC Rookie of the Year QB Danny O’Brien.

Cierski could eventually be blocking for the recruit who signed late as of Monday- #26th ranked running back Justus Pickett out Ardrey Kell High School in North Carolina.

Justus Pickett

Pickett had several other schools on his list, including West Virginia, Arkansas, Duke, Wake Forest, and Ball State.

The 5’10, 166-pound running back is said to have 4.3-4.6 speed and has drawn some comparisons to Mountaineers running back Noel Devine.

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive coordinator Don Brown was expected to remain with Edsall and run that side of the ball, but he recently announced that he was taking his services up to UConn to run new coach Paul Pasqualoni’s defense.

Brown said the move was based on being closer to his family in the New England area, and the former UMass head coach will be going home apparently.

That leaves Edsall with a hole in his coaching lineup at defensive coordinator, but whoever picks up the headset there will have some toys to play with in the coming years.

Quinton Jefferson

Three-star defensive end recruit Quinton Jefferson (Woodland Hills, Pittsburgh)-who had received offers from Iowa, Cincinnati, WVU, Pittsburgh, and Wisconsin-could either be that dominant pass rusher in the next few years for the Terps on the line or if Edsall remains confident in the 3-4 as his defense, Jefferson might be the next Shawne Merriman.

Cole Farrand-a three-star linebacker/tight end out of Sparta, NJ/Pope John-could see himself at either position for Edsall in the coming years.

ESPN has him ranked as the #25th ranked OLB in the prep nation.

You can also add to the mix at the linebacking corps Maryland’s own Alex Twine-out of Quince Orchard High School.

Twine may make an immediate impact on special teams and has already has impressed the coaching staff with his sure tackling ability.

The wild card in the defensive recruits Edsall mentioned may be defensive tackle Keith Bowers out of Dwyer High School in Palm Springs, Florida.

Bowers already weighs in at 6’1, 250 pounds, and he could be that force in the middle for Edsall’s defense.

But while that remains to be seen-as well as the rest of this recruiting class-just as it is in the transition from college to the NFL, some of these guys may not pan out.

“You never know how someone will turn out until you’re four or five years down the road,” Edsall noted. “I just worry about what we do as an evaluation as coaches.”

Maryland’s recruiting class was rated ninth out of the 12 ACC schools, with only Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and N.C. State trailing the Terps according to ESPN.com.

Edall however doesn’t believe in all that rankings and star-systems when it comes to recruiting college athletes. He just wants guys who he knows can play the game of football and do it well enough to his standards.

“I don’t put any credence in the star system,” he said. “What we’re looking for is how they’re going to fit into the schemes we play and do they fit in academically…socially…with their work ethic, and character wise. Those are the decisions we have to make…all those other things are just there to make money for fans to buy into.”

But what Edsall does know that these 21 guys are committed to the University of Maryland 100%, and they’ve already taken that first step in proving so by signing their letters of intent and getting to work.

“It’s so refreshing,” Edsall said,” because you’re teaching these kids about commitment and what commitment means.”

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