Tag:Danny O'Brien
Posted on: April 12, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: April 12, 2011 11:52 am
 

Edsall: Danny O'Brien getting competition at QB

Posted by Chip Patterson

Coming into the 2010 season, the expectations were pretty low for Maryland football. They were fresh off a 2-10 season, and the touchdown-less second half in the 17-14 season-opener against Navy did not ease any concerns. But when quarterback Jamarr Robinson injured his arm and began missing snaps due to soreness, redshirt freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien took control.

O'Brien took the keys to the offense helped lead the Terps for a 6-win turnaround to 8-4, one of the best turnarounds in program history. O'Brien threw for 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns, and was named the ACC Rookie of the Year.

But a new head coach (Randy Edsall ) and new offensive coordintaor (Gary Crowton ), O'Brien's hold on on the starting job might not be as tight as many expected. Edsall made a point on Monday to compliment the play of sophomore quarterback C.J. Brown .

“C.J. Brown is putting pressure on Danny,” Edsall said today in a conference call with reporters . “I like the things that he’s doing. C.J. is a guy that does a good job in the huddle and can make plays.”

Brown was considered one of the candidates for Robinson's starting job until his season was ended by a broken collarbone against Morgan State in the second game of the season. The dual-threat quarterback only has one passing attempt and one rushing attempt in his brief collegiate career, but he has been making a statement so far in spring practice. As far as Edsall is concerned, the compeitition will only lead to good things for Maryland.

“Everybody always needs somebody pushing them, somebody behind them,” Edsall said . “I think the competition is great for everybody. You can never drink the Kool-Aid. I’m not saying anyone is, but I’m saying every day you have to go out there and prove yourself and be the best you can be. That’s all we want these guys to do.”

RELATED : Maryland may have their options open at the quarterback position, but they are already having to shuffle the depth chart due to injury. Edsall also told reporters that starting left tackle Justin Gilbert re-injured his left knee and underwent surgery on Thursday . It is the same knee that ended Gilbert's season Sept. 18 at West Virginia a year ago. Sophomore Max Garcia is expected to take over the starting spot.

Posted on: April 4, 2011 5:02 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2011 5:05 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Maryland

Posted by Chip Patterson

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Maryland , who started spring practice on Tuesday.


Maryland fell just short of a division crown in 2010, can Randy Edsall and the new coaching staff take the Terps over the top?

2010 was a season of historic turnaround for the Maryland football program. Just a year after going 2-10, the Terps finished the year 8-4 with a Top 25 ranking in the final polls. It was one of the biggest win-differentials in program, and head coach Ralph Friedgen was named the ACC Coach of the Year -- for the second time in his career.

But Friedgen was not the only one to collect hardware for Maryland in 2010. Redshirt freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien took the conference by storm, throwing for 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns on his way to earning ACC Rookie of the Year honors. O'Brien started the season as the backup quarterback, but took control of the position while replacing injured quarterback Jamarr Robinson (shoulder). He ranked third nationally among freshman in passing efficiency (135.2) and his 8 interceptions was second fewest in the ACC for quarterbacks with at least 10 touchdowns.

But even with an 8-4 finish, Military Bowl victory, and two end of the season ACC award winners, athletic director Kevin Anderson felt there needed to be a change for Maryland football. Before the bowl game, Anderson announced that Maryland would buy out Friedgen's final year of his contract (2011) and begin searching for a new head coach. Many Maryland fans criticized the timing of Friedgen's dismissal, but it hardly compared to the sting Maryland delivered to Connecticut.

Randy Edsall had just finished coaching the Connecticut Huskies against Oklahoma in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Despite the embarrassing loss, the BCS berth marked a peak in Connecticut's decade-long climb into the the top ranks of college football. When Edsall was named head coach in 1999 the Huskies were not even a Division I program, in 2010 they were Big East champions. Which is why it crushed Connecticut fans to hear that Edsall was accepting the open Maryland position the day after coaching the Huskies in the Fiesta Bowl.

So now Edsall begins another project in College Park. His new challenge from Kevin Anderson will be to guide the Terrapins "from good to great," and become an annual contender in the ACC. As the Terps have gotten spring practice underway, Edsall has instituted some new procedural regulations around the program.

When Anderson presented Edsall with his Maryland baseball cap at January's introductory press conference, the new head coach smiled for a few photos then quickly removed it from his head. Edsall believes in obeying his own team rules, and "no baseball caps" is one of them.

Almost immediately after he was hired, Edsall informed the team there would be no ball caps, do-rags, or earrings inside team facilities. If players do choose to grow facial hair, it is expected to be neatly kept and well-groomed. Players have already been spotted doing extra workouts as punishment for oversleeping or being late to team meetings.

"What we're trying to do is prepare these kids for life," Edsall said in a recent interview. "When you meet people for the first time, you make a lasting impression. We're trying to instill discipline and give them an advantage over other people when they leave college. I know what employers are looking for."

But the changes within the program at Maryland extend far beyond player conduct and appearance. Beginning this spring the 2011 Terps will not only be getting used to playing for Edsall, but also new coordinators on both sides of the ball. Offensive coordinator James Franklin left to take over as the head coach of Vanderbilt's team, and Maryland now welcomes Gary Crowton from LSU. Franklin was given a lot of credit for O'Brien's development and the offense's performance in 2010, now Crowton will be counted on to continue that development in 2011.

Luckily, Crowton welcomes back several pieces to compliment O'Brien. Perhaps most important will be returning four of the five starters from an offensive line that only allowed O'Brien to be sacked 12 times in conference play, good for 3rd in the ACC. With some questions at wide receiver, it will be even more important for the offense to win the battle at the line to give O'Brien enough time to get through his progression.

Additionally Maryland returns leading rusher Davin Meggett, who racked up 720 yards as part of a two-headed rushing attack with Da'Rel Scott. He'll be counted on to be the feature back early, though keep your eye on bruising tailback D.J. Adams. Adams led all rushers in 2010 with 11 touchdowns, padded significantly by a 4 touchdown performance in Maryland's 51-20 rout of East Carolina in the bowl game. With the offensive line and backfield mostly in place, the rushing game should serve as a strong foundation for O'Brien's second season under center.

But perhaps the biggest question mark offensively is the receiver position. There were times last season where it felt like Torrey Smith was the only receiver on the field. After 67 receptions, 1,055 yards, and 12 touchdowns in 2010, Smith is seizing the opportunity to take the one-man show to the NFL. Spring practice will be the time for Crowton to figure out who will take the place of the man responsible for nearly twice as many catches and three times as many yards as any other Maryland receiver last year. The spring depth chart lists Kevin Dorsey, Quintin McCree, and Ronnie Tyler as the top wide receivers, but some have pegged Florida transfer Adrian Coxson as a name to keep an eye on at the wideout position.

After suddenly losing their head coach, Connecticut got some kind of karmic consolation by hiring Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown to the same position with the Huskies. Now, Edsall and new coordinator Todd Bradford (Southern Mississippi) must spend spring practice figuring out who will fill the holes in a yet-to-be-determined system. Bradford ran a 4-3 base defense last season with the Golden Eagles, but has said the Terps will use multiple formations and "move a lot" next season. Don Brown's multiple-look blitzing scheme highlighted the play of linebackers Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten in 2010, and Maryland fans are hoping that Kenny Tate can be that playmaker in the fall. Tate recorded 100 tackles in his junior year at safety, and will be making the jump to linebacker this spring

. But in order to put themselves in a position to compete for an ACC Championship in 2011, they'll have to overcome a rapidly improving Atlantic Division. N.C. State is coming off their best season in years, and Clemson just reloaded with a new coaching staff and nationally ranked recruiting class. Not to mention Florida State, who has already been crowned as the team to beat in the conference for 2011. The Seminoles kept Maryland out of the ACC Championship game in 2010 with a 30-16 win in College Park. If the Terps want to move from "good to great" in 2011, the road will have to go through Tallahassee.

Click here for more Spring Practice Primers
Posted on: February 25, 2011 6:06 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 6:08 pm
 

PHOTO: New Maryland football uniforms?

Posted by Chip Patterson

There will be a lot of new looks to Maryland football in 2011.  Gone is the familar face of Ralph Friedgen, instead you will find former Connecticut head man Randy Edsall.  Offensive coordinator James Franklin is no longer in College Park, as he took the job as the new head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores.  Instead you will find Les Miles' old offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.  Athletic director Kevin Anderson made it clear he planned on moving Maryland football "to the next level," and now it appears that he may have gotten their friends at Under Armour to roll out some new gear.

What do you think about the potentially new uniforms?  Love em? Hate em? Let us know in the comment section below.   

H/T: @sbnation via @testudotimes































Posted on: February 9, 2011 2:46 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2011 2:49 pm
 

Terps not relying on Edsall to sell tickets

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson announced that Ralph Friedgen would not be retained as the Terrapins' head football coach, he confirmed what many had already been saying about Anderson's thought process: that it was a "business decision" as much about reviving the flagging interest in the program and increasing attendance in College Park as wins and losses.

Which is why many were left scratching their heads when Anderson ultimately hired Randy Edsall, a big winner for UConn but hardly the sort of name who would cause the Terps' casual fans to sit up and take notice. And sure enough, it appears the marketing professionals in the Terp ticketing office aren't expecting Edsall's presence to be a boon in the sales department, at least not judging by this e-mail pitch passed along by the Washington Post's Dan Steinberg:



If you're ranking the biggest reasons offered by this promo to buy Terp season tickets this year, it would look something like this:

1. They're cheap
2. You can watch quarterback Danny O'Brien
3. They're cheap. You'll $ave!
4. There's seven games in the package, including appealing tilts with Clemson and Miami
5. Did we mention they're cheap? No interest!

Noticeably absent from that list, of course, is the man who's just been hired to become the face of the program. As Steinberg writes, he's not totally M.I.A. from the pitch:
The sender's name was "Randy Edsall," but his name appears nowhere in the actual ad itself. Yes, there is a photo of him below, promising a "Behind the Scenes" signing day video, but it's maybe a third the size of the Danny O'Brien image.
If hiring Edsall was a "business decision," it seems like it might be one even Anderson's own athletic department isn't entirely on board with.

HT: DocSat

Posted on: January 18, 2011 10:27 am
Edited on: January 18, 2011 10:56 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Bowl Edition)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Florida State is an early favorite for 2011
- After dropping back-to-back games to North Carolina State and at home to North Carolina, Florida State looked like they had not completely shaken the consistency issues that have plagued the Seminoles in the last couple of seasons. In order to have a shot at the ACC title, Florida State would need to win out the final month of their ACC schedule. Not only did first-year coach Jimbo Fisher get his team to the ACC Championship Game, but they put up an impressive performance against Virginia Tech then followed it with a convincing win over South Carolina, the champions of the SEC East.

If one of the chief concerns for the Seminoles in 2011 is replacing Christian Ponder, then fans should feel very confident in their chances with E.J. Manuel at the helm. Manuel filled in for Ponder on three different occasions near the end of the season, culminating with his Chick Fil-A Bowl performance that helped seal the 26-17 win for Florida State. Additionally, all three of Florida State's top rushers (who combined collected 1,863 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns) are all returning next season. Florida State not only looks like an early ACC favorite, but perhaps a national favorite as well heading into the 2011 season.

2. If Russell Wilson is done, he went out in style - Russell Wilson was assumed to be as good as gone by many at the conclusion of the 2010 season. The junior quarterback has already been drafted by the Colorado Rockies, is engaged, and would be able to graduate in May if he chooses to do so. But after N.C. State's 23-7 victory over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl, Wilson hinted that he may have interest in playing football professionally as well.

"I want to be a starting quarterback in the NFL one day, and I want to be a starting second baseman in Major League Baseball one day," Wilson said to reporters after the game. "No matter what, I work my butt off every day to try to be the best and that's my mindset."

The January 15 deadline to declare for the NFL draft has come and gone, and if Wilson decides he wants to rejoin the Wolfpack after participating with the Rockies in Spring Training he will still have that option. Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker did the same thing heading into the 2010 season with the Tigers. However, if Wilson decides to join the Rockies and start cashing in on his baseball career, he will wrapped up his college football career with a nearly flawless 275 yard, 2 touchdown, 0 interception performance that earned him Champs Sports Bowl MVP honors.

3. Virginia Tech can't shake the big game curse - The Hokies have been incredibly dominant in the ACC since joining the conference in 2004, but they have struggled to match that superiority with big-time wins on the national level. Virginia Tech has won the conference title four times in the last seven years, and appeared in four of the six ACC Championship Games. But against teams ranked in the top 5 nationally, the Hokies are 1-27 all-time and 1-19 during Frank Beamer's tenure in Blacksburg. Many figured that the Orange Bowl would be a chance for the Hokies to shake the stigma of failing to perform against top teams, and at halftime it looked like they might have a chance to pull the upset.

But in the second half Andrew Luck picked apart Bud Foster's defense while Stanford held Tyrod Taylor and the Virginia Tech offense scoreless while the Cardinal ran away with the 40-12 victory. However, it is important that Hokies fans don't dwell on the failures against the top 5 heading into 2011. With the kind of turnover Virginia Tech is expecting on both sides of the ball, defending their conference title will be a difficult task on its own.

4. ACC Coastal dropped the ball - This is more of a season-long lesson, but the ACC Coastal continued to be the less impressive division through the end of the bowl season. In the preseason polls, there five ACC teams in the Top 25, with four highest ranked teams (Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech, North Carolina) all coming from the Coastal Division. Not only did the balance of power appear to shift towards the Atlantic Division during the season, the bowl records from the postseason also indicate that the Atlantic may be the superior division.

Coastal teams went 1-3 during the postseason, with only North Carolina squeaking out their double overtime win over Tennessee in the Music City Bowl. The Atlantic, on the other hand, saw Florida State, Maryland, and N.C. State all pick up impressive victories in their bowl games. With the talent that Florida State and Maryland are bringing back, it would be surprising to see the media side with a new division heading into the 2011 season.

5. Ralph Friedgen left Randy Edsall a winning squad - Friedgen had an emotion al final game as Maryland's head coach, as his team bludgeoned ECU 51-20 in the Military Bowl. The players dedicated the beatdown to their head coach on his way out, capping off an impressive finish to the season that saw the Terps climb one game away from an ACC Championship Game appearance. But the time has come and gone for Ralph Friedgen fans to be upset with his dismissal from Maryland. Former Connecticut coach Randy Edsall has been hired, and the Terps are moving forward. What Friedgen did leave was a young and talented Maryland squad that will be a real threat in 2010. Edsall was a safe hire for athletic director Kevin Anderson, and the former Huskies head coach brought in some firepower with offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.

The last couple seasons have not been pleasant for Crowton, catching the blame from LSU fans for an offense that ranked near the bottom of the SEC in 2009 and 2010. But he saw his most successful season in his first year with Matt Flynn under center, and Terps fans will hope that a talented quarterback like ACC Freshman of the Year Danny O'Brien will recreate that success of the 2007 LSU offense under Crowton's direction.

Posted on: January 10, 2011 4:11 pm
 

FWAA releases Freshman All-American team

Posted by Tom Fornelli

For the tenth straight season the Football Writers Association of America released its Freshman All American team on Monday, and going over the list, there aren't a whole lot of surprises.  Generally there aren't a lot of freshman who come into college football and have a huge impact, but there are some names on this list who were a huge part of their team in 2010.  Guys like Marcus Lattimore, Danny O'Brien and Robert Woods.  Jimbo Fisher took home the head coaching honors, thanks to a nice first campaign in charge of the Florida State program.

The SEC and Big 12 tied amongst the conferences, all eleven of which are represented, with five players apiece.  Here's the full list.


Posted on: December 29, 2010 11:42 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 9:16 am
 

Bowl Grades: Military Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

MARYLAND

Offense - After such a successful season for Danny O'Brien, many expected the freshman quarterback to go right back to his favorite target, Torrey Smith, against the outmatched East Carolina secondary. But it was the running backs who stole the show in the 51-20 victory. D.J. Adams, Da'Rell Scott, and David Meggett combined for 297 yards and 4 touchdowns against arguably the worst defense in college football. The opposition certainly didn't provide much of a challenge, but you still have to give the Terps credit for being able to take advantage of the opportunities. GRADE: B

Defense - Maryland figured they would have their hands full with Dominique Davis and the high-octane ECU offense. They knew they would have an advantage on offense, and just needed to keep the Pirates in check in order to secure a victory. Maryland's success started with a great scheme to frustrate and confuse Davis. Davis looked uncomfortable in the pocket, and the Terps forced him to turn the ball over three times (2 INTs, 1 FF). GRADE: B+

Coaching - While Friedgen received much of the praise for Maryland's performance in his last game as head coach, the job of defensive coordinator Don Brown should not be overlooked. ECU came into the game ranking in the top 20 nationally in most offensive categories, and Maryland held them to just one touchdown until the final minutes of regulation. Also a nod to running backs coach John Donovan for his job standing in for departed offensive coordinator James Franklin. GRADE: A-

EAST CAROLINA

Offense - East Carolina's impressive offensive statistics were not an overly inflated point because of a weaker schedule. In fact, the Pirates played three ACC teams this season (1-2), and they averaged 25.7 points in those games. So there are very few excuses for the numerous penalties and six turnovers by the East Carolina offense. The Pirates threw for 311 yards, but only rushed for 32 as the hurry-up offense was slowed to a stop by costly mistakes. Lincoln Riley is considered one of the bright young coaches in the game, but his offense mailed it in against the Terps. GRADE: F

Defense - The most disappointing thing about East Carolina's defense was watching them cave in the second half. Not only did Maryland continue to build the lead, but the effort applied (particularly on the 61 and 93 yard TD runs by Da'rell Scott) seemed to diminish as the clock continued to wind down. We knew that ECU's defense was the worst in the NCAA, but you still would like to see a little more effort in pursuit of the ball based on the bigger stage. Shame on us for having high hopes/expectations out of the Pirates defense in 2010. GRADE: F

Coaching - I believe that ECU has a bright future ahead, particularly under the leadership of first-year head coach Ruffin McNeill and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. But considering the four turnovers and 15 penalties, it is hard not to criticize the Pirates' preparation. ECU was sloppy out of the gate, and there were back-breaking penalties on both sides of the ball. Been a rough second half the season, and many of their woes continued into the postseason. GRADE: D+

FINAL GRADE: The 2010 Military Bowl was made up of, among other things, 71 points, 6 turnovers, 26 penalties, and lasted just a few minutes shy of four hours. Any further explanation would include too many expletives. Sloppy, long, and painful at the end. GRADE: F
Posted on: December 29, 2010 10:06 am
Edited on: December 29, 2010 10:06 am
 

CBS Bowl Bonanza: Military Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Basics: Maryland (8-4) takes on East Carolina (6-6) in the Military Bowl on Wednesday afternoon in Washington, D.C.

Why to watch: Well certainly you will want to tune in if you are a fan of Ralph Friedgen. The two-time ACC Coach of the Year will have the Maryland headset on one more time before having his contract terminated just after the new year. It has been a move that has confused many Maryland fans, especially after Friedgen helped orchestrate one of the biggest win-turnarounds in school history. But athletic director Kevin Anderson clearly has a different picture for the future of Maryland football, one that does not include the Fridge. East Carolina is glad to be bowling in their first year under head coach Ruffin McNeill. A former assistant under Mike Leach at Texas Tech, McNeill brought a staff that likes to put big numbers up on the scoreboard. Plus, it is 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon - what else are you going to watch?

Keys to victory for Maryland: With offensive coordinator James Franklin on his way to become the head coach at Vanderbilt, it will be interesting to see if there is any effect on the Maryland offense. Much of freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien's development this season has been credited to Franklin, and now the Terps will try and get their third bowl win since 2006 without their primary play-caller.

Also, the only way that East Carolina keeps the game close is in the event of a shoot-out. If Maryland's defense can come up with stops the way they did against NC State in the regular season finale, they can keep East Carolina's offense from putting up those basketball score numbers from the end of the season.

Keys to victory for East Carolina: The Pirates have to force Maryland to score by putting up points themselves. At this point in the season, it may be too late to ask the 118th ranked defense to make stops, so you might as well look to quarterback Dominique Davis to orchestrate some big-time touchdown drives. Davis was fourth in the nation in passing yards in 2010, but he will need one of his best performances of the season against the Maryland secondary.

If East Carolina's defense were to focus on one major goal - it should be to shut down Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith. Smith is obviously O'Brien's favorite target, particularly in big games. Shut Smith down, and at least you save yourself the chance of being burned for 224 receiving yards like NC State.

The Military Bowl is like: A really awkward family reunion. Maryland is going to trot out there with a departing coaching staff and an athletic director who seems far more fixated on finding a replacement than getting a bowl victory. The Terps will have to face Ruffin McNeill, a former assistant of current Maryland coaching candidate Mike Leach. ECU runs an offense with an obvious Texas Tech influence - are the Terps getting a quick look at the future of their own program? Probably not, but we will see how the next weeks transpire in College Park.
 
 
 
 
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