Terps hire Randy Edsall: An early look
Just when it looked like the pirate was set to dock his ship in the Inner Harbor, Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson pulled a fast one and has tabbed Randy Edsall to succeed Ralph Friedgen as head football coach of the Terps.
This isn’t the flashy hire that most of Terrapin Nation had been hoping for, but I absolutely believe it was the right decision considering who the other candidates were reported to be. I’ll have more as time goes on, but let’s take an early look at Randy Edsall and what it could mean for football in College Park.
As I mentioned, Edsall isn’t the ostentatious hire most were hoping for. On top of most people’s, which reportedly included Under Armour CEO and prominent Maryland booster Kevin Plank, lists was former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach. But his eccentric personality and the baggage he is carrying undoubtedly hurt him with Anderson and the search committee.
Per Darren Rovell of CNBC via Twitter, “Kevin Plank was not willing to put his rep on the line for any Leach fallout.” Based upon everything that happened at the end of Leach’s tenure at Texas Tech, you can’t blame Plank or Anderson for getting cold feet.
Even if Edsall’s name isn’t as flashy, his coaching credentials and the situation it puts the Terps football team in more than makes up for it.
Possibly the biggest thing that attracts me to this hire is, in large part, the football team and scheme isn’t going under a complete overhaul. With Leach, Malzahn, Rich Rodriguez, and most of the other rumored candidates, the Terps would have been switching from a pro-style offense to a spread offense.
Instead, Danny O’Brien and company are able to continue to build upon the offensive momentum they built up last season, capped off by a 51 point outburst in the Military Bowl. Heck, O’Brien might even get to lean on a running game this season, as Edsall has coached two of the top running backs in college football over the past few years in Donald Brown and Jordan Todman.
Most importantly, considering where Edsall has been coaching for the past twelve years, he has had as much success as anyone in the country. He took the reins of the Huskies’ sled just as they were moving from Division 1-AA to Division 1-A and has led them to multiple winning seasons, a Big East championship, and a BCS bowl appearance. In his last four seasons at UConn, the Huskies went 33-19 and 2-2 in bowl games. It doesn’t exactly remind you of Urban Meyer at Florida, but it’s extremely impressive in its own right.
Not only has Edsall helped his team to success on the field, but he has led his student-athletes to have success off it as well. The Huskies currently have ten players in the NFL, not including the nation’s second leading rusher Todman who just declared for the NFL Draft, that were all coached by Edsall. That, along with the fact he has ties to the NFL through coaching with the Jacksonville Jaguars for four seasons as well as having played for and coached under New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin for a number of years, should really give the Terps a boost in recruiting in the D.C. area.
As much as I love the hire, it does come with its fair share of question marks. Can Edsall solve the recruiting issues the Terps have had in the DMV area? Can he be the head guy at a school with higher expectations? Will his name and resume be enough to pack Byrd Stadium again? When he has success, will he call College Park his home or temporary residence? How will it be received by the aforementioned Kevin Plank?
While those are all legitimate questions, I believe they will all result in positive answers. Moving from a school that is exclusively about basketball to a program that seems intent on breaking into the college football world will do wonders for his reputation and his recruiting prowess. And while I don’t think that season tickets will sell out as fast as a Jonas Brothers Concert, the charisma and success he will bring to College Park will do that sooner than most think.
Now that the first domino has fallen, it will be interesting to see what follows. How will the team react? Will anyone decide to transfer? Who will Edsall bring along as his assistants? Personally, my wish (and seemingly all of Terrapin Nation’s wish) is that he retains Don Brown and brings on Mike Locksley in some way, shape, or form to do what he does best – recruit. As I mentioned in my Terrapins coaching search post a week ago, hiring Locksley as anything but a head coach transforms the Terps from an ACC power to a national power.
And for what it’s worth, the players seem to be reacting positively to the hire. Danny O’Brien said last night on Twitter, “Welcome Coach Edsall into Terp Nation! Very impressed and ready to get my playbook. Let’s rock.” AJ Francis also chimed in, “He’s not here to win games, he’s here to win championships…”
Make no mistake Terrapin Nation, this is a fantastic hire by Kevin Anderson. I understand some of you will be upset about the Terps passing on Leach, but make sure to take the time to look at the guy we did hire, he will surprise you. Better days lie ahead in College Park. I can’t wait to see what happens next. It’s time to Fear the Turtle again!
| January 3, 2011; 8:53 AM ET
Categories: Rick Nelligan, Terps | Tags: Rick Nelligan, Terps
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