Maryland's new football hire, Randy Edsall, doesn't look much different from Ralph Friedgen

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 3, 2011; 12:35 AM

Wait. Hold up. Help me understand what just happened in College Park.

Maryland's stated desire to take the next step in college football, to gracelessly move reliable Ralph Friedgen and the past aside for a shake-and-bake exotic candidate - someone more vibrant, younger, (go ahead, say it) trimmer, a guy who would simultaneously woo five-star recruits and fill empty luxury suites - has now culminated in the hiring of a decent Big East coach whose record is a shade over .500 in 12 seasons?

From a school where basketball will always be king?

Randy Edsall, whose Connecticut kids were waxed in their bowl game by Oklahoma on New Year's night - that's Maryland's new man?

That's what the athletic-director-in-training Kevin Anderson meant when he said, "strategic business decision," in response to firing Friedgen after 10 years, seven bowls and five seasons of nine or more victories, which took, oh, 25 years for his five predecessors to accomplish? That's what the university-president-in-training approved?

One quick question: Are you serious?!

They didn't get swashbuckling Mike Leach and his rocket-fueled "Air Raid"offense? They didn't land the big fish, the It Coach, Mr. BCS-Or-Bust himself?

Okay. Good. They didn't need him.

The smartest guy in the room (ask Mike, he'll tell you) would have been the absolute wrong choice for Maryland.

The coach who once coarsely blamed a loss on his Texas Tech players' "fat little girlfriends," whose ongoing, defamation-of-character lawsuits against two Maryland business partners (an NCAA member institution and ESPN) was not worth the risk.

Especially after two of the most embarrassing weeks in Maryland athletics history, where Anderson was the main antagonist in a klutzy, rottenly-directed drama, "How Not To Lose a Coach in 10 Days."

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