Edsall prohibits assistant coaches from being interviewed. Essentially, he’s the program’s lone voice.
To this point, Edsall has failed in that important role, too often making conflicting comments about whether the Terrapins are talented enough to win consistently. Pressed by reporters after raising questions about the state of the program, Edsall has quickly backtracked. He simply can’t do that.
“It’s gotta be a situation where maybe you don’t say as much because of how things are taken out of context. People don’t see my point of view,” Edsall said. “I can’t help that people might misinterpret something I say.
“Anyone who knows me knows I’m not trying to criticize [the former staff] . . . or do anything to ever hurt one of my student-athletes. That’s not me.”
But Edsall isn’t well-known here. The public can evaluate Edsall only on what he says publicly, and he definitely seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth about the Terrapins’ talent level.
He sidestepped the rebuilding question while we spoke, but he has “an issue with the preseason publications and everything along those lines. Every team changes so much from year to year. And every year is a new beginning, so to speak. You really never know how that’s all gonna play out until you start getting into playing the games.”
Edsall has made changes in the academic support program to provide more help for players. His dress-code rules, however, have also stirred frustration in the program.
“Making kids go to class, having it so kids can’t wear a hat inside or wear an earring to a football function . . . I don’t see anything wrong with that,” Edsall said. “Holding kids accountable and making sure that the young men are only doing what the NCAA allows us to do with the number of hours that we have per week . . . that’s what we should be doing.”
Maryland had nine victories and won a bowl game last season. Edsall knew expectations were high when he accepted the position. Edsall, though, wouldn’t be the first coach to learn a job is more difficult after he actually started working at it.
Edsall believes he’s doing things correctly. He’s determined to achieve something special at Maryland. He has already built a program at Connecticut — and now he has an opportunity to rebuild one.