As the dawn of Maryland’s first Big Ten season nears, Maryland’s coaches will be asked one question after another about what this new era will be like. One interesting question posed to Randy Edsall during a recent appearance on ESPN 980: What will the crowds at Byrd Stadium look like when traditional Midwestern powers visit College Park.
“You know, whatever it is, it is,” Edsall said. “One of the things I heard when I first got here with our schedule, [was complaints about] not playing tough people. Well, you can’t have a better schedule than what we have. In terms of people wanting to come and see big-time football and see big-time opponents, I mean, go buy the tickets and show up.
“Now you’ve got what you want, so get out there and come support us,” he continued. “Because if you don’t, there’s gonna be 20,000 people from Ohio State, 20,000 people from Iowa who are gonna sit in the stands. And if we get off to a good start, people are gonna want those tickets. Well guess what: They’re not gonna be there to be had.”
(Side note: Are we going to wind up doing countless blog items featuring photos of visiting fans at Byrd Stadium? We are, aren’t we? Don’t get mad at us. I mean, don’t blame the blogger; blame the blog. Wait, don’t blame the blog, either.)
Still, whatever the crowds look like, Edsall has been consistent with his praise over the move. He told ESPN 980 that the Big Ten has “made a tremendous impact” on recruiting, and he gushed about the new conference affiliation during a recent PressBox lunch event outside Baltimore.
“As a football coach, I feel better,” Edsall said to applause. “Because I’m going to a football conference; I’m not in a basketball conference anymore. And so from that standpoint, has this summer been difficult on me and my coaches? It has been, because we’ve had to do a lot more preparation in terms of looking at all the tape and studying the tape, personnel, schemes and all those things. But that’s part of it. That you have to do regardless.
“But I was ecstatic [about the move],” he went on. “When I was told that we had the opportunity to go to the Big Ten, I just told [Athletic Director] Kevin Anderson, I said if you don’t take it, they should fire you. Because again, not only what it’s doing for our football program but what it does for our institution, what it does for Maryland academically, and the things that you reap the rewards of that. …
“Yeah, we’ve got work to do, but if you’re a competitor that’s what you want. And our players are working their tails off. We want to be able to prove people wrong, because there’s people that don’t think that we can compete and we can win….To me, I don’t see any negatives at all in the move. It’s something that we were exited about and will always be excited about. … We’re never gonna have all the resources that Ohio State or Michigan or Penn State or Michigan State have. But we can have plenty enough resources where we can go and end up beating them and getting ourselves to a Rose Bowl.”