So, Maryland has reportedly hired UConn head coach Randy Edsall to be their new guy, and that’s caused a lot of backlash from Maryland fans.
Look, I get it. Mike Leach was basically promised, and you wanted that excitement – both on the field and off. He would bring attendance to Byrd and almost undoubtedly make the Terps ACC contenders every single year. However, there are some issues – questions about his character, his past, his ability to recruit. I don’t deny that Leach would be a great candidate (I would be very happy if he were hired), but you have to ask yourself this – if no one else is hiring him, there has to be a reason, right? Apparently, he didn’t rub the search committee the right way (I’m failing to find the link on Twitter, but it was there), and maybe it’s just me, but after watching countless clips of him on Youtube, he seems like a self-centered ass who likes to offload blame on his players and is extremely abrasive.
Anyway, this post isn’t about why Leach wouldn’t be a good hire – he would be – but rather why Edsall is one. So here’s some background – Edsall was a quarterback for Tom Coughlin at Syracuse and coached for Coughlin with Syracuse, Boston College, and the Jaguars. He was affiliated with Syracuse for a very long time – he started playing there in 1980 and left after 1990 for BC. In 1999, after a year as Georgia Tech’s defensive coordinator, Edsall was hired as UConn’s head coach. When he took over, they were a struggling Division I-AA program in the process of reclassifying to Division I-A. Eleven years later, they’ve had four straight winning records, two Big East Titles, and Edsall was named the 2010 Big East Coach of the Year.
UConn has been and always will be a basketball school. They’ve never had a football history (even yesterday, before the Fiesta Bowl, my dad asks “UConn has a football team?”), and there’s no high school recruiting ground to speak of in Connecticut, although he has recruited in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York (where you’ve got to figure he’s got connections). Yet, Edsall was able to turn the Huskies into a successful program in a relatively short time span (posting their first 9-win season in their fourth year in Division I-A).
He’s got a great mix of skill sets, in my book. He’s a former quarterback who was a defensive coordinator and has recruiting ties in the DMV area and the northeast. His teams usually have strong defenses, especially when it comes to forcing turnovers, and if he keeps Don Brown it would be a dream come true for me.
One thing that I love about Edsall is that he’s a local guy. He’s from an area very close to College Park, and Maryland is essentially a destination job for him, as opposed to Leach, who might only want to coach Maryland because no one else is taking him. He’s got local connections and a desire to be there, which is fantastic.
Edsall runs a pro-style offense, which suits Maryland’s team infinitely better. The spread is exciting, but it tires out the defense and it doesn’t fit the kind of players the Terps’ currently have. With Danny O’Brien, D.J. Adams, Tyler Cierski, Matt Furstenburg (yeah, I said it), a vastly improved offensive line, a receiving group with a lot of potential (Adrian Coxson, Kevin Dorsey, Nigel King, etc.), and one of the best defenses in the conference, this team could very easily win the ACC next year.
Edsall had two of the most productive running backs in the decade of college football in Donald Brown II (currently with the Colts) and Jordan Todman (who declared for the draft yesterday). Here’s to hoping he can do something similar with D.J. Adams.