Randy Edsall: Bad Coach, Or Bad Luck?

Published: Oct 30, 2013 15:43pm EDT
By JLangley4, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Oct 30, 2013 @ 04:00pm EDT


When you ask the average Maryland Terrapins football fan who is the beloved coach in their heart, the answer will likely be the same: Ralph Friedgen.

This is not necessarily a wrong answer, as Friedgen did lead the Terrapins to seven bowl appearances in his ten seasons, winning five of them. The biggest problem under Friedgen was the consistency of his teams, to go along with the recruiting towards the end of his tenure.

It is rare to see coaches at one place for an extended period of time, making the tenures of Frank Beamer and Bobby Bowden so incredible. Every program wants to move in a different direction at some point, but coming off of an 8-4 season, one in which they won a bowl game, came to the surprise of many. The shock was exponentially higher with offensive coordinator James Franklin, the supposed successor to Friedgen, taking the Vanderbilt job just weeks before the firing.

In came Edsall, who had just led his Connecticut Huskies to the Fiesta Bowl that season and was well-liked in that area. Edsall said in his introductory press conference that this was always his dream job. With his track record of turning UConn into a winner from the very bottom up, it was hard not to like Edsall.

This was not enough for some. The sting of Friedgen walking out the door left a taste in the fans mouths that Edsall simply couldn't cure without having immediate success. All looked right in the first game, as Maryland, in their pride uniforms, walked away with a 32-24 victory over Miami. The love fest would be short lived, as Maryland would go on to lose the rest of their games, aside from a victory over Towson, on their way to a 2-10 record.

The 2012 season rolled in with cautious optimism after the addition of prized 5-star recruit Stefon Diggs. Edsall had managed to lure a local star to the university, something that hadn't been done in years. Before the season could even begin, starting quarterback CJ Brown went down with a torn ACL, finishing his season. True freshman Perry Hills would take the snaps, leading the Terrapins to a 4-2 start, with promises of a bowl game,but it only got worse from there.

Hills would also tear his ACL, and replacement Devin Burns would break his foot, ending both of their seasons. The final scholarship quarterback on roster was Caleb Rowe, and it was on his shoulders to lead the Terrapins to a bowl game. Rowe would only play one game, against Boston College, before his season was abruptly ended by a torn ACL.

The 2012 season could be named the curse of the ACL.

Maryland would go on to finish 4-8, missing out, yet again, on a bowl game.

So far in 2013, the story goes the same. The team started 4-0, but have stumbled to 5-3 currently and are in danger of failing to reach a bowl game for the third straight season, after major injuries were suffered to star players yet again.

There are a multitude of reasons that could explain the unruly trend happening in College Park. Is this a conditioning problem? Are the athletes not eating right? Is Randy Edsall simply not a good coach?

Bad luck has played a major part in the problems facing the Terrapins. There is no doubt this team now possesses the talent to win 7-9 games in a season, leading to a bowl game. Questioning condition is tough. Torn ACL's, shoulder injuries, and the other injuries suffered by the Terrapins this season has nothing to do with conditioning.

The injuries suffered this season are of a freak nature. During the course of a season, major injuries are bound to happen, but for them to happen to four quarterbacks in one season, and to the two star wide receivers the next, is a freak occurrence. So, to this regard, Edsall gets a pass. He cannot control what happens with injuries like this.

Bad coaching does play a role as well, though. The passing offense, at times, seems too simplistic. Often times, the quarterback, whether it be CJ Brown or Caleb Rowe, is taking one step, and firing the ball to a receiver. This is leading to incomplete passes, as well as interceptions.

This is an offensive coordinator problem, though. It hasn't been all bad. The running game has been solid, and the passing game is much improved from last season. Offense is a process, and it is building each season. Next season will be the biggest tell on how far the program has come.

Defense is a case of injuries. Defensive Coordinator Brian Stewart has done an excellent job calling plays, and putting a solid defense out there. Often times, the unit is gassed and cannot properly function, due to the offense not moving the ball. Injuries have plagued the unit, and considering the top two corners have been down since week three, the unit has performed admirably.

Randy Edsall is by no means a bad coach. While there are areas he needs improvement, he has taken the right steps to get this football program heading in the right direction, with solid recruiting, and team building. Excuse time is almost over, though. Next season will be put-up or shut-up time.


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