Maryland coach Randy Edsall inherited a nine-win team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 and led by the 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year.
He is currently coaching a two-win team, the Terps are closer to 25 injuries than any rankings, and the former rookie star is competing for his starting job each week.
In retrospect, it might be a good thing that Maryland’s quarterback controversy between Danny O'Brien and C.J. Brown has dominated the headlines this year. Otherwise, the program’s rapid descent in Edsall’s first season would be the main storyline. The Terps haven’t won a conference game since the season opener, against a Miami team that was missing eight suspended starters, and the only other win this season was against Towson. Maryland has lost four straight heading into Saturday’s game against Virginia, and now must win all four remaining games in order to become bowl eligible.
“Yeah, we would like to have more wins, no doubt,” Edsall said, “but when you’re installing a new system and trying to get the right guys to play in the scheme you want to play in, and then when you get the injuries on top of that, it just, there were things that were compounded and hasn’t allowed us to be as good as we wanted to be.”
Or as good as he’s getting paid to be.
With a six-year, $12 million contract in hand, it’s safe to say Edsall will be in College Park for a while. Maryland’s athletic department certainly couldn’t afford a second straight buyout after firing Ralph Friedgen, and any immediate change would concede a hiring mistake by athletic director Kevin Anderson. It’s still far too early in Edsall’s career to make that judgment call, but the 2-6 start hasn’t exactly done much to win over an already fickle fan base.
The announced attendance of 29,245 for Saturday’s 28-17 loss to Boston College, according to the Washington Times, was the smallest in nearly 11 seasons, and the Associated Press reported there were fewer than 10,000 fans remaining for the start of the second half, when Maryland trailed 21-3. Maryland enters Saturday’s game against Virginia with the nation’s No. 118-ranked rushing defense, No. 103 scoring defense, and ranked No. 110 in passing efficiency. Both O’Brien and Brown continue to compete this week for the starting job, a weekly routine that has developed since O’Brien was benched in the Oct. 8 loss at Georgia Tech.
The Terps have already played their way out of the ACC championship race, but Edsall said he would be making the same decisions in his first season if the team were 8-0 at this point.
“I’m just confidently trying to do a better job each and every week to help our young men go out there and perform to the best of their abilities,” he said. “Again, I think I can do something good every week, regardless of what the outcome is. I’m always going to look at myself first and foremost to find ways to make this team better, to help the coaches coach better, and even if we were 8-0 at this time, I’d still be doing the same thing. What happens sometimes is, when you don’t win, things get magnified, but my job is going to be the same regardless if we’re winning every game or if we’re 2-6.”
With the loss to Boston College, though, Edsall's job just got much more difficult in the month of November.