Last night (9/5/11) Miami and their new coach Al Golden visited College Park, MD to face the Terps in a nationally televised Labor Day matchup. The Labor Day ACC matchup brings back some great memories of my first college football game as a undergrad at Clemson, when FSU visited and fell just a score short of a win in Death Valley.
Of course, last night’s matchup had an added layer of intrigue due to Miami’s suspensions, and new head coaches on both sides of the field. Al Golden has taken Randy Shannon’s spot at Miami, after Shannon was fired for mediocre performance (despite cheating). Meanwhile, Randy Edsall left UConn after guiding them to the Fiesta Bowl to take over for Ralph Friedgen as head coach at Maryland.
The game was pretty entertaining for a match-up between two second tier ACC schools, and the crowd was one of the most raucous you’ll see in Collge Park, but two things really stuck out about the game.
1. Maryland wore some “regrettable” uniforms.
2. I love me some Randy Edsall!
Following the close Maryland victory, Randy Edsall seemed overwhelmed by emotion in the post-game interview, and mentioned how he wanted to see the crowd loud and full like it was that night (52,875 was laughably announced as the seventh-largest in school history). His love for UMD was obvious. He grew up just across the Maryland border in Pennslyvania and his father took him to Terrapin football games as a child.
Shortly after taking his dream job at UMD, Edsall realized that the previous coaching staff was violating a NCAA rule by practicing too many hours each week. What did Edsall do? He self-reported the violation, and has since been docked 2.5 hours per week of practice. That’s some incredible honesty there.
I’m gushing now. I’ll stop.
The move from UConn to Maryland was a lateral move at best. Leaving a BCS bowl quality team at UConn for a middle of the pack ACC team. What makes it even more shocking is that he already turned down a job offer from his alma mater, Syracuse. He did get a solid contract (6yrs – 2,000,000 annually) though. In addition there are $200,000 worth of attendance based incentives. So do you think his passion and emotion are genuine, or is he just trying to sell tickets and get those incentive dollars? He seems totally genuine, and passionate to me and I think it was a tremendous hire for UMD.
That said, Maryland may be too far gone as a culturally basketball school to have a great football program. It’s rare to have a school excel and be passionate about both sports, but I’d argue that there isn’t much else Maryland could do besides hiring a great coach, that is passionate about Maryland and won’t up and leave more money is put on the table. Their problem under Friedgen was attendance, so giving him incentives to get butts in seats seems wise too.
Maybe if Dabo Swinney (Clemson Head Coach) losses another 7 games this year we’ll fire him and get Randy Edsall to replace him… Nah, he’s already got his dream job, and he’s not going anywhere.
To hear the other side of the story about how Edsall abandoned UConn, click here.