In a little more than a year into his reign as the head football coach at Maryland, Randy Edsall went from a celebrated honeymoon to the subject of intense scrutiny.
The falling out included a prominent sports columnist calling for Edsalls termination. But Edsall isnt reading what John Feinstein writes, or what many callers on radio shows in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas are saying, nor does he give a shake about what the Internet message board hounds are barking.
The Terrapins went from 9-4 under former coach Ralph Freidgen in 2010 to 2-10 and a laughingstock under Edsall last fall. A whopping 24 players have transferred already, including quarterback Danny O'Brien, who may end up starting this fall at Wisconsin because he fits into the loophole that allows transfers to play immediately if theyve graduated.
Edsall says the program is headed in right direction and that the program is better off having players that want to be there. This spring he said the team bought into what the coaching staff was teaching. All things considered, thats progress.
I dont worry about the players who arent here, Edsall said when asked about no longer having OBrien. All I worry about is (quarterbacks) C.J. Brown and Caleb Rowe and what theyre going to do for us. Everybody here is all in and just looking forward to continuing the work to progress with these young men.
With that, Edsall said the Terrapins achieved their goals in spring practice and have bounced into the offseason as hed hoped.
We had basically five objectives that we wanted to work to get better at during spring, said Edsall, who spent 12 years running the show at Connecticut before taking over at Maryland. Number one was to make sure that everybody was all in with what we were doing. I think weve accomplished that. The attitude, the effort, the enthusiasm was there this spring. It was fun to be on the practice field and around the guys.
You just dont hear coaches singling out how much they enjoyed their players in the manner Edsall did. It was as if to say he didnt enjoy them previously, which was probably mutual.
In Edsalls defense, though, he had 2.5 hours a week less of practice time than other ACC teams because Freidgen was cited by the NCAA of practicing too long. Having so much time cut out of a work week is bad enough for a coach with tenure at a school, but it can slow the building process with a brand new regime at the helm.
But considering the degree in which Maryland most often lost -- to Temple by 31 points, allowed 56 to Clemson at home, and lost additional games by 25, 11, 18, 24, and 21 points -- its hard to point to a shortage in practice time as the main reason. The issues were deep and obvious enough to nationally renowned columnist John Feinstein that he called for the firing of Edsall on Nov. 27.
In his Washington Post column, Feinstein wrote: How about re-evaluating yourself? Does a career record of 76-80 make you exempt from that? Does the fact that your failure ruined the last college football memories of your senior class something Edsall never brings up bother you at all?
No. Nothing bothers Edsall. Hes never wrong. He coached well; his players played bad. And wore caps backwards too often. The media was unfair. And hes just like (owner) Bob Kraft and the Patriots.
Feinsteins corner has no stand on Edsalls job status as of now. But Edsall does have a lot of fans and media to win back. The Terps arent projected to make much of an improvement this coming season, so Edsall needs patience from everyone around him, not to mention some understanding.
When you go through change and a transition, being in this as long as I have, it does not happen overnight... he said. Its not basketball. You cant change with one guy.
No, Edsall definitely cant do it alone.