The Maryland football team emerged from Saturday’s 40-27 loss against Clemson without any significant injuries, a moral victory unto itself. No players were carted off the field and loaded into ambulances. No bones were broken. No ligaments were torn. And yet the Terrapins sat inside Gossett Team House, fielding questions over another disappointing loss, thinking about what could have been.
As Coach Randy Edsall prepared to finish his news conference, one reporter asked about how Maryland has handled this recent rash of injuries, which claimed its starting quarterback, running back, wide receivers (two), tight end, cornerbacks (two) and linebackers (two). How, the reporter asked, could the Terps avoid wondering, “Why us?”
Here is how Edsall responded, a four-minute filibuster, in its entirety:
“That’s a good question. Let me say this, I would never say it publicly,” Edsall said, stammering to find the answer. “I don’t know. Maybe I’m so simple, it’s too simple. But I just try to let these guys … I mean this is life. This is no different than life. We don’t have any control over these injuries and what happens. And when you don’t have control over it, how can you sit there and worry about things you can’t control?
“But the thing we can control is we can control our attitude about how we’re going to approach adversity. I think that’s the biggest thing. Because whether it’s football, whether it’s life, adversity is going to set in. And when it does, it’s all on how you react to that adversity. If you don’t react in a positive way, or if you as an individual say, ‘I’ve got to do more because of what’s taken place,’ then you’re not doing the things necessary to help your team overcome that adversity.
“Things could always be worse. They could always be worse. But you don’t worry about that. You just worry about okay, here’s the cards you’re dealt, how are we going to find a way, in our case, to go out and win a football game? As a head coach, I’ve got to make sure that I’m sending that message to our assistant coaches, and then to the players and then the assistant coaches have to carry that as well to the players. And that’s how you have to deal with it.
“Someday, we’ll get the breaks that we hopefully, maybe deserve. But for me, if I approach it any other way, then I’m doing a disservice to the players, to our institution, and really to myself.”
Edsall’s eyes started welling up and his words grew heavy here, much like what happened last fall after a season-ending loss to North Carolina, when he waxed nostalgic about a senior class that, like this season, had dealt with so many injuries and so much bad luck.
“What we do here is we develop young men,” he continued. “And yes we play a game. But I’ve got to make sure that, when these guys leave here, whatever they go into for the rest of their lives, I hope I’ve set an example of how to deal with adversity and how to overcome that instead of feeling sorry for yourself. I think that’s what it’s all about. You just keep fighting. You just keep working and doing the things necessary to overcome whatever comes your way. And to me, that’s the role and responsibility, first and foremost with the head football coach, which is me.”