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Posted at 11:38 AM ET, 01/14/2011

QB Danny O'Brien's questions told Randy Edsall all he needed to know

By Steve Yanda

At 6 p.m. on Jan. 2, the day Randy Edsall was hired as Maryland's football coach, he met with members of the team to introduce himself. After saying what he had to say, Edsall asked the players in attendance if they had any questions, and among those who spoke up was freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien.

"Coach," Edsall recalled O'Brien saying, "all I want to know is when is the offensive coordinator going to get here, and when can I get a playbook?"

It's been a hectic past two weeks for Edsall. He admitted in an interview Friday morning that he hasn't had much time yet to review game film of the quarterback who earned freshman all-America honors while leading Maryland to a 9-4 record and a No. 23 ranking in the final Associated Press top 25 poll.

Edsall saw some of O'Brien's performance in the Military Bowl victory over East Carolina, but he otherwise has been occupied with assembling his staff and hitting the recruiting trail.

But in Edsall's mind, the two questions O'Brien asked the night of their introduction to each other was as informative for the coach as any compilation of film clips.

"I didn’t need to know anything else about him," Edsall said. "That’s all I needed to know. Those two things said it all about who he is and what he’s all about."

Former Louisiana State offensive coordinator Gary Crowton is expected to be hired in the same capacity at Maryland -- expect an announcement from the athletic department Monday or Tuesday -- and when Crowton arrives in College Park, he will bring with him an offensive approach that has proven capable of compiling passing yards and points in bulk.

Such a wide-open attack might seem on the surface to be a departure from the offense Edsall ran at Connecticut, but Edsall contends with that notion. Effective leaders, Edsall said, take the people that they have at their disposal and utilize their abilities to the benefit of the group. That, he noted, is exactly what he tried to do at U-Conn.

So when the Huskies had quarterback Dan Orlovsky from 2001 to 2004, they catered the offense to his strengths. Orlovsky ranked No. 7 in the nation in passing during his junior year, a season in which he threw for 3,485 yards, 33 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. In 2004, Orlovsky's senior year, he threw for 3,354 yards, 23 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

More recently, Edsall said, the Huskies had talented offensive lines and running backs on their roster, so the focus shifted to creating a powerful rushing attack. U-Conn. averaged at least 170 rushing yards per game in four of the past five seasons.

Huskies tailback Jordan Todman was the nation's second leading rusher this past fall, averaging 141.3 yards per contest. Meantime, UConn ranked last in the Big East in passing offense (151.1 ypg) in 2010.

"What you do is you have people, if they can do certain things, you do what they can do," Edsall said. "So guess what? We’re going to do the things that our guys can do best. We know that Danny O’Brien is a good quarterback and can throw it.

"Ultimately, what I want to be is an offense that is aggressive, that attacks the field horizontally, that will attack the field vertically, that will have balance between run and pass and be multiple, because that puts more pressure on the defense. And that’s what we want to be. We want to be an offense that’s going to create problems for the defense.

"And now what we’ve got to try to do is go out and recruit those type of people. The bottom line is, in coaching and in life, it’s about taking people’s talents and getting the most out of them with what their strengths are in order to win, and that’s what we did."

By Steve Yanda  | January 14, 2011; 11:38 AM ET
Categories:  Danny O'Brien, Football, Randy Edsall  
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Comments

I can't wait for spring practice. DOB is a real gem. That idiot at ESPN ACC Blog, Heather Dontknowmuch, has the Terps 8th in the ACC next season. Does she actually get paid for that gig?

Posted by: petecard | January 14, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

"all I want to know is when is the offensive coordinator going to get here, and when can I get a playbook?"

I freaking love you Danny.

Posted by: FandBops | January 14, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Now can we get this kid an Offensive Coordinator and a playbook already? Times wasting.

Posted by: fushezzi | January 14, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

All one can say is keep DOB healthy.

Please!

Posted by: MerlinTerps | January 14, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Effective leaders, Edsall said, take the people that they have at their disposal and utilize their abilities to the benefit of the group. That, he noted, is exactly what he tried to do at U-Conn.

Was the quote above an indirect swipe at Mike Shana-hasbeen of the Redskins?

Posted by: jmueller7 | January 14, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

DOB is a stud. Not only does the guy have talent but as you can see above, he's got a super attitude. And while I may have busted the AD's chops on the hire of Edsall, I respect what he did at UConn, a place where football just tides the fans over until Midnight Madness, and turning it into a winner.

I don't believe I'm saying this. I can't till next season!

Posted by: ecglotfelty | January 14, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

DOB should go down as the greatest quarterback in MD history. If he doesn't, its on Edsall. I was watching the thanksgiving game when Detroit was on, I cant remember the broadcaster, but he talked about Shaun Hill and the long line of MD quarterbacks in the NFL. This kid is legit, his numbers as a freshman are unreal. If this team isn't in the ACC Championship game this year, then this season will be an epic failure Mr. Kevin Anderson. And you will be next to go.

Posted by: tony28 | January 14, 2011 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Check out the Terps "Recruiting Report" at the BMore Sun dated today. Mostly good news as a result of some of the turmoil at Pitt. Roll Terps!

Posted by: Terps85 | January 14, 2011 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Whoa is me is that really the sound of real Maryland fans actually being "Fans",aahh such a sound for my weary ears. Outisde of tony "I lost my mind"28 all were positive simething a REAL fan is,this could be really good,optimism,good potentially great young QB,and a coach that wants to work with what he has,and get what he doesn't. I wasn't a fan of seeing Rallph go but face it what's done is done,so move on and it looks like we are moving in the right direction. Mr.tony28,a little on the bombastic side there fella,if the Terps don't win something they haven't won in ah since Ralph's first year then the AD is history,bit on the negative side there bud. but I am sticking with the positive,lets get some more recruits to back up the fine young men we watched play last year,let's hope for some healthy seasons and let's go out there and make the ACC FEAR THE TURTLE! Lets go Maryland-thump-thump-thump-thump-thump.

Posted by: mfowler1 | January 15, 2011 12:28 AM | Report abuse

A shanahan reference on a UMD blog. Nice.

Posted by: clwalker1906 | January 15, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I love what Edsall said! I criticized Fridgen for not doing that with his offense. Ralph had good teams when he had a good QB. Hill, McBrien and not much until O'Brien.

Scarbath, Feloney, Shiner, Avellini, Manges, Tice, Esiason, Gelbaugh, Reich, O'Donnell, Zolak, Milanovich all played in the NFL (except Feloney played in the CFL). I saw most of them play in college, either in person or on TV .

Frank Reich was the QB for the biggest NCAA comeback until 2006 when Michigan State exceeded the comeback of the Terps over Jimmy Johnson's Miami team. He also had the biggest NFL comeback when he played with the Buffalo Bills.

Go Terps!

Posted by: bigj7999 | January 15, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Petecard - can't believe you're criticizing Dinich. We haven't had consistently good Terps coverage since she left the Sun. She still has more Terps coverage on ESPN than Sun + Post. I disagree with her low-balling the Terps, but I think that's an assumption that switching coaches could be a set back.

Posted by: mcmelton | January 16, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

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