“I follow UCONN, I wish ’em well in every game…except when you’re gonna play them.”
That’s Maryland head coach Randy Edsall on his thoughts about his former stompin’ grounds, the University of Connecticut, where he coached prior to taking the job at Maryland. During his weekly press conference coach Edsall stressed that, despite playing against his former team, this week was going to be the same as any other in terms of preparation.
“To me, this is just the third game on the schedule. It just happens to be against Connecticut”
“This one is going to count just as much as the William & Mary game and the Temple game.”
That’s probably a good thing, as Maryland players will need to be as sharp as possible against a UCONN team that likely hasn’t forgotten the departure of Randy Edsall. It wasn’t a Baltimore Colts leaving town in the middle of the night situation, but Edsall left the Huskies without talking to any of his players, which can rub lots of people the wrong way. Edsall recognized that fact during the conference:
“If I had a do over, I wish I had talked to those players in person, but the circumstances of this profession didn’t allow it. I can’t have a relationship with current players because of NCAA rules”
In what will certainly be an emotionally tinged game, coach Edsall will try to keep his players calm and collected as best possible, especially freshman quarterback Perry Hills. Hills was named ACC Rookie of the Week (not year, as coach Edsall misspoke today), but he will be going up against a veteran laden UCONN defense that could be playing with an edge.
“UCONN starts seven seniors on defense, five fifth-year seniors, and they are number one in the nation in rushing defense,” said Edsall.
He also spoke very highly of Huskies defensive end Trevardo Williams, whom he compared favorably to Dwight Freeney and considers him one of the best in all of college football. The offensive line should have their hands full trying to protect Hills from this pass rush, especially if the running game is neutralized.
Edsall also made note of the Terrapins taking steps forward, saying that for two straight games the Terrapins have won the fourth quarter battle, and “that’s progress.” One could argue that they should not have to worry about fourth quarters, but the progress is evident from week one to week two on the offensive end.
The defense has been solid and looks to get healthier and better with the return of strong safety Matt Robinson from injury. Robinson was previously the starter, and hopefully won’t have to shake off too much rust. This gives the Terps some much needed depth in the secondary, and allows them to have more versatile options. Robinson had 36 tackles in three games as a starter last season, and could deliver some big hits against the Huskies.
Well that’s that. I’m certain that both teams are going to be fired up, and there will likely be a solid attendance boost at Byrd Stadium heading into this game. Even though Edsall claims that he is taking this as just another game, I don’t think the players feel the same way, and are expected to be fired up for their coach. They are going to need it if they want to continue on a three game winning streak.