Injuries have played a part in Maryland’s collapse, and the schedule is tougher than last season. And growing pains are inevitable in a regime change. Also, some former key contributors have not been as productive under Edsall.
Still, none of that fully explains why Maryland has fallen so short of expectations in the first season after Athletic Director Kevin Anderson fired Ralph Friedgen, last season’s ACC coach of the year, and turned to Edsall to take the program from “good to great.”
In moments of frustration, Edsall has dropped hints about the root of the problem, indicating he needs more time and talent to build the program his way. The perception is that Edsall is bashing Friedgen and players instead of accepting responsibility for what has gone wrong. It’s debatable how much talent Maryland truly has, and there are no guarantees the team would have played better even if Friedgen had returned.
What is certain is that Edsall has a lot of work ahead of him. While trying to recruit the types of players he wants, Edsall also must attempt to improve his image with fans, who haven’t seen much to like yet. He should just stop talking about what could be better at Maryland, and utilize the available talent in the final five games. It’s important for Edsall to finally provide stability in an unstable season — especially if he may need even more time than he initially envisioned to get it right.
Edsall has learned a lot from the problems he’s facing, and “just like in a business, whenever there is change, some people might not always agree with everything,” he said during a lengthy interview in his office Tuesday. “What we’re going to do, what we’re going to make sure of, is that everybody understands the kind of program we’re installing.
“It’s about doing what’s best for these student-athletes academically, athletically and as people. Now, if there are people who don’t feel that they can be a part of what we’re trying to do here, well, I can’t control that. All we want here are the guys who really believe in the program.”
In a one-on-one session, Edsall conveys his message clearly. His desire to help Maryland players seems true. His passion to succeed is evident.
Group settings haven’t worked as well for him. After an embarrassing loss to Temple in September and again last week following a blowout defeat at Florida State, Edsall raised eyebrows in commenting on the program’s deficiencies.