QB Danny O'Brien's questions told Randy Edsall all he needed to know
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."
| January 14, 2011; 11:38 AM ET
Categories: Danny O'Brien, Football, Randy Edsall
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