Edsall needs to alter his approach in hopes of rebounding quickly. He’ll have to secure a strong recruiting class while also re-recruiting Maryland’s frustrated fans.
Through his actions this offseason, Edsall must change the conversation, which has been trending negative since he arrived. Edsall should reinvent himself somewhat, or at least try, because his long-term employment with Maryland is at stake. Despite everything that went wrong, it’s too soon for Maryland to make a coaching change. After one season, though, it’s definitely getting late for Edsall.
He seems to understand the situation. Edsall says he knows what he’s facing. If a season-ending, seven-game losing streak won’t prompt self-evaluation, what will?
“I’m not perfect. There were things I could have done better. I know that,” Edsall said late Tuesday night, during a phone conversation while on a recruiting trip.
“The first thing I do is, I ask myself, ‘What could I have done better? Where did I make those mistakes?’ I’m taking a look at myself — first and foremost. That’s what I have to do.”
Even Edsall understands that the Terrapins’ closing clunker — a 56-41 loss to North Carolina State in which they were outscored 42-0 in the final 21 minutes — left many Maryland supporters wondering if he’s capable of the heavy lifting apparently required to rebuild the program “because we’re not happy with this, either. From the standpoint of the record, this wasn’t what we wanted. I know [fans] are upset. But we have a plan, and we’re executing the plan.”
For Edsall’s sake, repairing his public image had better be the centerpiece.
Obviously, the team’s drop-off from 9-4 last season under Ralph Friedgen to just two victories was Edsall’s biggest problem. Edsall hurt himself repeatedly, however, with public-speaking missteps.
A portion of the fan base was already upset because of Athletic Director Kevin Anderson’s decision to fire the popular Friedgen and replace him with Edsall, whose comments about the program, which were perceived as negative, alienated fans and players. Players also privately chafed at Edsall’s team rules.
It all contributed to an overwhelmingly negative environment. That’s not what Maryland needs from one of its two revenue-producing sports, especially during a financial crisis that has the school poised to cut eight varsity sports.
Now, the challenge for Edsall is to generate the type of positive year-round buzz that helps sustain elite programs.
Maryland needs some good word-of-mouth. In homes recruiting this week, on campus or wherever he goes from now until next season begins, Edsall’s main job is to sell an improved version of himself.