TOWSON, Md. – A former graduate assistant coach at the University of Maryland, Tyler Bowen has been named as an assistant coach for the Towson University football team, it has been announced by Head Coach Rob Ambrose.
He will serve as the Tigers’ tight ends coach.
A native of Helena, Ga., Bowen played three years of football for the Terrapins before becoming a student assistant coach for Ralph Friedgen in 2010. In his season as a student assistant, he helped Maryland post a 9-4 record and a win in the Military Bowl.
“Tyler Bowen is an incredible experienced and talented young coach who has learned from some of the greatest minds in college football,” says Coach Ambrose. “His versatility and enthusiasm are already being felt by our players and staff.”
An offensive tackle whose career was hampered by injuries, Bowen was an All-State offensive lineman at Telfair County High School in Georgia. He was recruited by a number of major college programs before deciding to attend Maryland.
After the 2009 season, it was determined that he couldn’t play football anymore due to injury problems. At that point, he joined the Terrapins’ coaching staff.
After he received his degree in 2010, he joined Coach Randy Edsall’s staff as a graduate assistant. During his two seasons as a G.A. at Maryland, he worked with the offensive linemen and the wide receivers. He spent most of his time working with the offense. In his final season at Maryland, he coached for Mike Locksley, the Terps’ Offensive Coordinator and a 1992 graduate of Towson.
“Contrary to rumor, I’m still a Terp,” O’Brien stated without any further elaboration.
Of course, the original report could still hold true, and O’Brien may simply want to delay announcing his decision until the end of the spring semester. After his redshirt sophomore season was cut short by a broken arm last November, O’Brien could wait to see how he fares in a quarterback competition with fellow junior-to-be C.J. Brown this spring before deciding on his future.
Edsall has said O’Brien would be limited in spring practice as he continues to recover from the fracture to his non-throwing arm.
After a successful 2010 season in which he was named ACC Rookie of the Year and threw 22 touchdowns to just eight interceptions while leading Maryland to a 9-4 record and a Military Bowl victory in Ralph Friedgen’s final year as head coach, O’Brien struggled to adjust to offensive coordinator Gary Crowton’s spread offense in 2011 and was eventually benched in favor of Brown. O’Brien had only seven touchdown passes and threw 10 interceptions before his season was cut short against Notre Dame on Nov. 12.
Edsall hired Mike Locksley as his new offensive coordinator after last season’s disastrous 2-10 campaign, and Maryland is expected to adopt a pro-style offense with spread components that would likely be more suited to O’Brien’s skill set than last year’s system.
Rumors have circulated for months that O’Brien would leave Maryland after losing his starting job and being forced to compete with Brown, but the North Carolina native has publicly supported Edsall and the program. If O’Brien would transfer, he would become the 11th player with eligibility remaining to leave the program since last season and 23rd overall since Edsall was hired in January 2011.
O’Brien has two years of eligibility remaining at Maryland.
As a sports talk radio host, my life is basically dependent on getting sports figures to talk. As you’ve seen this football season, it’s been particularly beneficial (at least in terms of viral recognition) when folks like Ralph Friedgen or Joe Flacco have answered my questions in colorful ways.
At the beginning of every week, WNST Executive Producer Ryan Chell and I run through a list of folks we can reach out to for that particular week in hopes of having them appear on my radio show-or any of the other shows here at AM1570 WNST.net.
As Ryan and I were chatting Monday, I mentioned to him that I knew New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski a little bit. I had covered his brother (Cleveland Browns TE Dan Gronkowski) for awhile when he played for the University of Maryland and had stayed in touch a bit since then. I also spent time chatting with Rob at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in 2010 and we exchanged phone numbers as I had reason to believe he was a legitimate target for General Manager Ozzie Newsome and the Baltimore Ravens in the upcoming NFL Draft.
(Of course, that was well before we found out the monster tight end had failed a physical with the team leading up to the Draft.)
Ryan reached out to Gronkowski Tuesday morning and got a call back from him just after “The Reality Check” hit the airwaves Tuesday afternoon. When Ryan asked him if he would be available to chat with me later in the show, the former University of Arizona star politely declined (he did offer to chat again after the season was over) and deferred to the Pats’ media availability this week.
While I was disappointed, I fully understood. To keep peeling back the curtain, I never allow myself to get too angry when a sports figure doesn’t end up on the air with us. I always tell our staff “they don’t owe us anything” and look forward to the next opportunity to chat.
Baltimore Ravens DL Arthur Jones took us up on the opportunity to chat Tuesday on the show. As much as I tried, I couldn’t get him to divulge information on what kind of pass rush the Ravens would offer in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.
I tell this long-winded story because it ties into some other comments made this week that have lit up Charm City.
Ravens S Ed Reed appeared Monday on SiriusXM’s NFL Radio. You’ve read many of the quotes elsewhere on the internet, including…
“Joe was kind of rattled a little bit by that defense. They had a lot of guys in the box on him and they were giving it to him. I think a couple of times he needed to get rid of the ball. It just didn’t look like he had a hold on the offense.”
“He can’t play like that. One specific play that sticks out to me was when Ray Rice came out and got pushed out of the backfield and (Flacco) still threw him the ball and he had Torrey Smith on the outside. I can say that sitting on the sideline or sitting in the stands. You don’t know what someone else is seeing.”
The ESPY Awards are an annual event put on by ESPN that you’ve never watched from start to finish despite the fact that the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” promotes them for about 6 months.
And since you likely won’t be watching next July, I’ll prevent the suspense. Jerome Simpson’s TD catch for the Cincinnati Bengals against the Arizona Cardinals Saturday wins SOMETHING.
As our own Brian Billick said on FOX, “you don’t get style points in the NFL but that oughtta be worth eight.”
Oh, and don’t look now but Cincy is playing great football just before they welcome the Ravens to Paul Brown Stadium next Sunday with the fate of the AFC North hanging in the balance. I don’t want to talk about that right now though. Perhaps never.
As someone who roots for a baseball team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 1997, I know a thing or two about what it must have felt like for fans in the Music City to watch their team clinch a Wild Card spot in the final moments of their win over the San Diego Chargers Saturday night…
The Bolts were finally eliminated from the playoffs, which you would assume will lead to Norv Turner’s firing. They may or may not have already interviewed Bill Cowher for Turner’s job, and Jon Gruden may or may not be next.
In the meantime, if you’re going to lose at least do it with amazing hair like SD DE Antonio Garay…
It was the final win of a record-setting career for the Broncos quarterback, it was just really unfortunate it happened in this venue instead of in a BCS bowl, as America would have enjoyed watching them play a team that actually gave a s**t…
The win came as rumors swirled that Penn State was interested in hiring BSU coach Chris Petersen. In a related story, I am interested in being hired by Saturday Night Live.
Petersen obviously is not interested in replacing Joe Paterno in State College. And if you were living as large as this dude is, why would you take ANY job?
In the Carolina Panthers’ win over the Bucs Saturday, Newton broke National Football League records for rookie passing yards (Peyton Manning) and quarterback rushing touchdowns (Steve Grogan). He did it in pretty spectacular fashion…
Things couldn’t be worse for the Bucs. Head coach Raheem Morris apparently “sent home” DE Brian Price after getting a 15 yard personal foul call and the team’s freefall continued on toward what looks more and more likely to be Morris’ ultimate firing.
I kinda feel bad for them. Perhaps I should offer some of my mom (the great Karen Clark)’s holiday stuffed shells…
Matt Barkley returning to Southern California is confusing because we know he would have been a potential Top 5 pick in the NFL Draft, but we also know what could be ahead. Heisman Trophy, Pac 12 & BCS Championship hopes and bevies of hot chicks.
I mean, the guy can play Jason Mraz on the guitar. He must be dodging panties every day he walks around Los Angeles. Tough life there…
With the Pats trailing the Miami Dolphins 17-0 at halftime Saturday, Facebook and Twitter were alive in Charm City with hopes of the Ravens still having a shot at the #1 seed in the AFC.
I however looked at my executive producer Ryan Chell and said “when Tom Brady decides to start playing I think they’ll be fine.”
They were. The Pats charged back from the halftime deficit to beat the Fins and are now a win away from clinching the #1 seed in the AFC. Apparently none of that is enough for owner Robert Kraft to get a high five…
Also, this looks like a good holiday film/way to make sure you don’t struggle in the red zone…
Of note for Miami, Reggie Bush remarkably ran for 100+ yards AGAIN in the defeat and we learned this weekend his mom does not want him to get back together with Kim Kardashian. That’s fine, I think Catalina Otalvaro would be a better catch anyway…
Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio had a late celebratory dinner with our fantastic attorney Sunday night at Fogo De Chao. As I walked in, I said to Drew “is Tebow going to do it again?” He responded “nah…it’s like 10-0 at the end of the game.”
I responded “um…actually it’s 10-7.”
Within moments we were all doing this…
So that I’ve covered myself here, a LOT of credit for the Denver Broncos’ win over the Chicago Bears has to be given to the fact that Marion Barber absolutely fell apart late and Matt Prater’s UNREAL game-tying boot. In fact, Prater’s boot was so incredible it deserves another look…
Just stop already. Just stop. Frank Reich might want to go ahead and make the congratulatory call to Tebow, because you KNOW “The Mile High Messiah” is going to eventually break his record for the greatest comeback in National Football League history.
As far as the Bears go, it’s over for them. You have to have a quarterback. It would be over in Charm City if Tyrod Taylor had to play.
That is…of course…ENOUGH about the Bears. Tim Tebow played Sunday. We’ll be talking about it until next Sunday.
Perhaps I was wrong. Maybe you DON’T have to have a quarterback. Maybe T.J. Yates is enough…
With Andre Johnson sidelined, Kevin Walter was the hero. I’m so confused by everything happening here. I know the other teams barely tried, but aren’t the Texans supposed to screw this up so that these t-shirts are never printed???
A large crowd welcomed the AFC South champs back to Reliant Stadium Saturday night. No word on whether or not they had all sent Peyton Manning Thank You cards or not.
Even if I had to make a trip to Landover and that AWFUL dump known as FedEx Field, it was worth it for Army/Navy.
My highlight this year? The press box (which Dan Snyder and company placed in the WORST possible location otherwise) was directly behind the brigade of Midshipmen, allowing me to hear every word of “The Goat is Old and Gnarly.”
If you’re not an Annapolis regular, you might not be familiar. Here’s a 4 year old singing it…
The Mids were 27-21 winners thanks to 4th quarter heroics from kicker Jon Teague. The game (as always) was “more than football”. Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama attended, watching one half of the game on each side. At halftime, he was walked from side to side through a tunnel formed by members of each branch. The word “goosebumps” fits.
Down 23-7 at the half and watching their Wild Card hopes crumble, the Falcons became energized and clinched a win with this 75 yard TD to Julio Jones…
After finishing the win over the Carolina Panthers, the Falcons had quite the scare when coach Mike Smith felt chest pains and was taken off the team flight and instead to a Charlotte hospital. When reached for comment, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger described Smith as a “pansy.”
The Bolts are pretty healthy and playing really well just in time for a date with the Ravens on Sunday Night Football. Phillip Rivers is playing well. Vincent Jackson is playing well. Ryan Matthews is playing well. Antonio Gates is playing well. They kept their slim playoff hopes alive while ruining any hopes the Buffalo Bills had Sunday.
WNST will be in San Diego next weekend, partnering with Los Angeles Ravens fan club The West Wing. That means Perry Hall High School alum Daniela Pane will be in the house…
It’s a shame she has to compete with me every year for the “most popular alum” award. Otherwise she’d probably have it nailed down.
Before the season began-what, maybe 10% of college football fans could name the Baylor Bears quarterback? Just before Christmas, RG3 has not only won the sports’ highest honor, he’s also started a craze in footwear…
Superman socks. Actually quite awesome. Everyone else is so much cooler than me.
There were a handful of goofs who thought the Oakland Raiders could give the Packers a run for their money. Here are some highlights-or at least the best I could find on YouTube…
If Greg Jennings really does have a torn ACL, the Packers are hurting. But this is a team that has Aaron Rodgers, Jermichael Finley, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, ah you get the point. They’re going undefeated and they’re probably going to win the Super Bowl.
It’s simply not easy being a Terps fan these days. From the maiden voyage of the SS Randy Edsall which has been mercifully docked for the season a tattered shell of its modest former self to the cutting of 8 sports to the anticipation of a bumpy road ahead for the basketball team, the fans are up in arms and AD Kevin Anderson is likely beginning to feel a bit of heat with little to redeem his brief tenure thus far yet plenty of fodder to indict with.
That said, the thought that Mark Turgeon would have an easier transition in filling the shoes of the legend Gary Williams than Randy Edsall would have in filling Ralph Friedgen’s old post was all buy unfathomable just 7 or so months ago. Yet that is seemingly just what has happened.
Edsall’s win/loss record is one thing, but the fact that he has done little to endear himself to the fans or media stands in stark opposition to the school’s proclamation that Friedgen’s failure to attract ticket buyers was at the heart of his dismissal. To that end, Edsall is failing miserably.
Turgeon on the other hand saved Nick Faust, the biggest remaining recruit in the Gary Williams cache and then quickly went about stocking the cupboard for 2012. As the Terps’ devout and astute fan base has taken notice, Turgeon will get a pass this season. Turgeon will get a pass that is; as long as he simply says and does the “right things” to appease a fan base yearning to believe that he can lead this team back to glory.
Conceding that notion however, the emotion of a season and the game-to-game action of the schedule can certainly change the tenor and the expectations of the fans in a hurry. Thus far it would seem that the Terps have shown themselves to have scant enough talent to stand much of a chance on most nights against “big 6” competition and therefore as long as their efforts look genuine and their improvement marked throughout the season, fans will be both summarily appeased and encouraged.
For me, while acceptable, all of the above became much more painful as I, as a fan, came to grips with the Terps place in the relative basketball universe over the two days of action that was the 2011 ACC/Big 10 Challenge. As the ACC was plodding their way to an 8 games to 4 loss in the challenge, a couple of things became painfully evident.
First is that the basketball luster of the once proud ACC is fading quickly (a realization made all the more difficult as fans once proud of the conference’s basketball identity and legacy have been summarily reminded at every turn that football is still way out front in the race to drive inter-collegiate politics). What’s more, this means that our hopes, as fans, for the basketball credibility of the conference now ride on the hated Tarheels and Blue Devils. If pulling for those two are requirements for being a good ACC fan, count me out for now and simply color me disappointed and moderately disgusted.
The second realization, one both comforting and disturbing, is that Carolina and Duke are both soft, neither looks much like a safe bet to get past the sweet 16 and it shouldn’t be a shock if someone was able to step up and steal the conference this season. It would be a shock however if that somebody was Maryland, for now I’ll call it anyone’s guess.
The ACC though in general is sort of up for grabs, in both football and basketball. The conference expansion that was supposed to bring football credibility to the conference while also bringing basketball credibility to the football powers it imported has been a miserable failure on both fronts. The ACC is still an afterthought in the BCS title picture, the perennial BCS powers it brought in are now fighting it out for the one automatic berth to the BCS that the ACC had already and now from a basketball standpoint the watered down ACC might be the 3rd or 4th best hoops conference in America this season…and it hasn’t happened all at once.
As the ACC prepares to absorb Pitt and the recently scandalous Syracuse it seems to indicate their belief that the basketball side of the operation needs a bit of a jump-start too. Recent history suggests the foreseeable outcome isn’t necessarily the likely one.
In both football and basketball, the ACC is absolutely ripe for the picking and Maryland has at least acted over the last 10 months or so like they intend to be in on the harvest. Now it’s just a matter of trusting the guys who’ll build the ladders to get it, and hoping they be able to get them high enough.
As Drew Forrester has said here at WNST.net, Randy Edsall is going to be the football coach at the University of Maryland in 2012.
The #FIREEDSALL trend on Twitter is certainly alive and John Feinstein absolutely shredded the coach this week in the Washington Post, but neither will have an effect on his job status.
Despite a 2-10 record in Edsall’s first season with the Terrapins, Athletic Director Kevin Anderson has every intention to stick with the man he hired after firing 10 year head coach and Maryland alum Ralph Friedgen nearly a year ago.
He’ll be doing that for a few reasons.
The first of those reasons is because no one is fairly considering how significant a role injuries played in the team’s downfall. The team was decimated by injuries throughout the season, forcing defensive coordinator Todd Bradford to turn to a number of redshirt and even true freshmen throughout the season. Competing for an ACC Championship was a tough task to begin with, but nearly impossible as injuries mounted.
It of course doesn’t forgive the nature of how the team finished with just one win over an opponent at the FBS level (their season opening Labor Day victory over a depleted Miami squad), but it has to be considered.
Another of the reasons why Edsall will return is well known. Maryland is in a LOT of financial trouble at the moment. The athletic department is on the verge of cutting eight varsity teams due to financial issues and has admitted that the football program must generate more money to sustain the 17 programs that will remain. With Edsall only one year into a six year deal worth $12 million, Maryland does not have the financial ability to get out from under such a costly deal.
The notion that Under Armour CEO/Maryland alum Kevin Plank could pony up the $10 million necessary to buy out Edsall is preposterous. Plank has become one of the most successful businessmen on the face of the planet buy making good decisions. Giving away $10 million wouldn’t qualify as such a thing.
(Just to inject here. There have been some rumors that Edsall would be a candidate for the Jacksonville Jaguars opening after the team fired Jack Del Rio. I think we can move on from those rumors about as quickly as they appeared.)
But money and injuries are not the only reasons why Randy Edsall will remain as the school’s football coach. The more significant reason why Edsall will not be let go by the school is because coaches who receive six year deals just aren’t dismissed after one season.
When Anderson hired Edsall away from the University of Connecticut, he absolutely did not tell him “if you leave the Huskies, you’ll have one year to make things work in College Park.”
Had Anderson done such a thing, Edsall’s response would have been something along the lines of “I would never leave UConn. UConn is my dream job.”
It’s safe to say that when hiring Edsall, Anderson made it clear the former Connecticut coach would be able to build his program as necessary, despite the success the team celebrated (nine wins including a Military Bowl victory, ACC Rookie of the Year in QB Danny O’Brien) the season before his arrival.
As Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant pointed out this week, there were reasons to believe Edsall’s reputation in Storrs exceeded his actual accomplishments. During an appearance on “The Reality Check” Wednesday on AM1570 WNST.net, Jacobs referred to something he had written in January just after Edsall’s departure from the area…
There was something unnervingly self-serving in Randy Edsall’s words in the month leading up to his BCS Bowl spanking. As he talked about all the milestones the program has reached since the days of working out of the trailers, Edsall wondered if there were any more notches in the belt he could cut at UConn.
The answer to Edsall’s question about notches in the belt, of course, was there were plenty left. And we’re not talking pie-in-the-sky national title. For starters, how about an outright Big East championship? Or how about getting to a BCS Bowl game where you aren’t automatically penciled in as a hopeless underdog the moment you qualify for it.”
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)
LANDOVER, Md. — The University of Maryland Terrapins went through the motions lost to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 45-21 Saturday night at FedEx Field.
The good news (for me) is that I won’t be attending another Maryland football game this season.
That’s where the good news ends.
This isn’t the final game on the schedule for the Terps (2-8, 1-5) this season, but I’ll guess it will be the final time I offer more than a handful of words to discuss them. I’ll imagine most of you can understand.
I remember back in August I had a thought that the team’s visit to North Carolina State November 26 could have ACC Championship implications. I remember thinking that with the Baltimore Ravens set to host the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving night I would have my weekend free and perhaps a trip to Raleigh would be in order.
As you’d assume, I have no travel plans for my Turkey Day weekend.
I’ve paid my dues. I’ve showed up for every game the Terps have played this season in the state of Maryland. The first game (Miami) was fun. The second half of the second game (West Virginia) was fun too. There was no more fun to be had this season.
I don’t write this in hopes to illicit sympathy from anyone. I write it because I know I’m not the only one who has suffered through the misery of Randy Edsall’s first season in College Park.
There’s no way of polishing this. No lipstick here can make this not look like a pig. Randy Edsall’s first season in College Park has been an unparalleled mess.
That would probably be an appropriate way to describe Maryland’s effort against the Irish (7-3) Saturday night as well.
“We’ve got to tackle better, get off on third down, (we’ve) got to make third downs, we can’t drop the ball” Edsall said after the loss, but even that probably couldn’t fully describe the effort.
After inheriting a team that finished with nine wins (including a Military Bowl triumph) a season ago, Edsall’s Terrapins (with aide of significant injury) have been unthinkably impossible to watch in 2011. Not only has the team struggled to win games, they’ve failed to maintain relevance. Not even the return to the buzzworthy Under Armour “PRIDE” uniforms could generate interest Saturday night, as the 70,251 fans who packed the home of the NFL’s Washington Redskins Saturday night overwhelmingly backed the home team.
The home team wasn’t Maryland. The team from South Bend, Indiana played that role Saturday night.
It isn’t so far-fetched to have thought Maryland would struggle after their transition from former coach Ralph Friedgen to Edsall. Many first year coaches are forced to establish roots before they can find future success. There was hope Maryland wouldn’t experience those types of growing pains as they returned the ACC Rookie of the Year (QB Danny O’Brien) and many of the players who experienced a victorious postseason one year earlier.
The best the Terrapins can hope for at this point would be a 4-8 finish (3-5 ACC), but a 2-10 (1-7 ACC) finish appears more likely with trips to Wake Forest and NC State left on the season.
Making things worse for a team that has been awful is the unwatchable nature of the games they’ve played in the past month. Instead of growing as a team during the course of the season, this team appears to have taken significant steps in the opposite direction.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — In case you missed it (and I have a hunch that says many of you did), the University of Maryland football team lost 31-13 to to the University of Virginia Saturday at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. The Terrapins (2-7, 1-5 ACC) appeared out of sync and lacked composure while the Cavaliers (6-3, 3-2 ACC) were opportunistic and balanced.
There were a number of empty seats throughout the stadium despite the Senior Day festivities, fans in attendance were heard booing and some even began chants of “Fire Edsall.” Those fans were voicing their displeasure at the fact that the loss eliminated the team’s chances of reaching bowl eligibility in their first season under new head coach Randy Edsall.
It was another brutal Saturday in a season of brutal Saturdays for this Terps team, decimated by injuries and lackluster play after a 9-4 campaign a season ago and the firing of popular long-term head coach Ralph Friedgen.
In the certain of the season-long disappointment has been sophomore quarterback Danny O’Brien, the reigning ACC Rookie of the Year. O’Brien came into the season with lofty expectations, labeled by some as a potential dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate. Instead of performing at that level, O’Brien has struggled to fit new Offensive Coordinator Gary Crowton’s scheme, dealt with drops from receivers and has been forced to split time with fellow sophomore CJ Brown.
In Saturday’s loss, O’Brien started the game before giving way to Brown in the second quarter. The two then (mostly) alternated playing time the rest of the way with little effectiveness. O’Brien finished the day 16/36 for 241 yards and two interceptions. (Brown was 4/7 for 28 yards with a touchdown and a pick, along with 24 yards on the ground.)
With the team struggling and the offense not clicking, much has been made by Terps fans and analysts who cover/follow the team about O’Brien’s future in College Park. Many believe the team’s unwillingness to stick with the sophomore will ultimately lead to him deciding to look elsewhere after the season for a place where he could transfer and become the primary starter in an offense more suited to his abilities.
Those talking about the possibility are most not connected to O’Brien whatsoever.
“I haven’t even (given) that any thought to be honest” O’Brien said following the Terrapins’ setback. “Right now it’s just about beating Notre Dame.”
(The Terps next face the Fighting Irish Saturday, November 12 at FedEx Field in Landover.)
“I feel like if I’m thinking about my future beyond next week I’m kinda cheating my teammates just because they’re counting on me when I’m in there (and not when I’m in there) to make plays” O’Brien added. “I’m not really gonna think about that. I’m here and I’m proud to be here.”
The frustration has been evident for O’Brien this season, as the team entered with hopes of improving upon their 2010 season, which ended with a win over East Carolina in the Military Bowl. The Terrapins have just one victory over a FBS level opponent since defeating the Pirates, their season opening Labor Day win over Miami.
It would be impossible for O’Brien to thrive while still splitting time with Brown no matter what each skill set allows for. Edsall said of the dilemma, ”I would love to just be able to play one guy.” He then went on to explain that both quarterbacks offered valuable skills and could have roles no matter who the future starter would be.
Edsall made another comment that was much more appropriate about the situation.
“It’s just not all on the quarterbacks.”
It certainly isn’t. The struggles of the offense include the receivers, the Offensive Line and probably the coaching staff as well. Edsall should by no means be absolved from blame when it comes to the apparent regression of the starter he inherited. Edsall has gone on and on about doing everything based on giving the team the “best opportunity to win”, but the only thing the team hasn’t done much of is…well…win. It would be safe to say that based on the evidence we’ve seen on the field, Edsall’s argument for playing both quarterbacks just doesn’t hold up.
That said, the offense has lacked rhythm and the quarterback carousel probably hasn’t helped. But even if the offense were more consistent, the inexperience on the defensive side of the ball and the woeful play of many special teams units would probably spell trouble for the Terps in general. The Terrapins have problems that go well beyond the quarterbacks.
But O’Brien was supposed to be the player that could guide this team through all of that.
That clearly hasn’t been the case.
It would be understandable if O’Brien ultimately decided there was another place where his skill set could be better utilized. It would be understandable if O’Brien ultimately decided he didn’t want to go into another season expecting to have to split time with another quarterback.
It would be understandable if O’Brien were wearing a uniform not made by Under Armour in the future.
It would just be disappointing considering all of the other problems facing the program at the time.