Posted by Chip Patterson
When he called Maryland his "dream job," the Terrapins fans had high hopes for the Randy Edsall era in College Park. But after an exhilarating season opening win against Miami, things have not gone as planned for the Terps.
Rookie of the Year Danny O'Brien has struggled to find his rhythm in the new offense, and now finds himself in a quarterback battle with the run-first freshman C.J. Brown. The defense has lost several key players to injury, most notably preseason All-ACC linebacker/safety Kenny Tate - who is done for the season with an undisclosed injury.
With 13 players with eligibility from the 2010 squad no longer on the team, and multiple reports of possible transfers, some fans are wondering if the 2-6 start can be blamed on the new leadership. Some fans may be doubting Edsall, but CBSSports.com's Dave Carey reports that one of the school's top boosters, Kevin Plank, has issued a vote of confidence for the first-year coach.
"Randy Edsall's a competitor, a fighter, and somebody whose foxhole I would stand in any day of the week," Plank said in a radio appearance on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore. "There are a lot of kids in-state that are looking at the University of Maryland."
Plank, Founder and CEO of Under Armour, is one of the brains behind the re-branding of the Maryland football program. Along with Edsall and athletic director Kevin Anderson, the program has been trying to emphasize the school's presence as the premiere destination for football players in the state of Maryland. That "Maryland Pride" that Edsall references frequently can be seen in many of the uniform combinations and promotional tools - like the uniform inspired by the Maryland state flag pictured right.
Anderson brought Edsall in to change the culture at Maryland, and the former Connecticut head coach quickly put new dress code and strict discipline requirements in action. There was initially some discontent in the locker room, but team leaders like senior running back Davin Meggett stood tall behind Edsall at the beginning of the season.
But as Maryland prepares to face Virginia on Saturday, the Terps are coming to terms with the likely possibility of missing the postseason for only the second time in six years. They have not won another conference game since that opener against Miami and their only other victory was against Towson.
It appears Edsall has the support of the program's leadership, but the players and fans will feel much better going into 2012 if Maryland can show some signs of turnaround in the final four games of the season.
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