Randy Edsall is officially Maryland's new football coach, and many Terps fans are upset. Don't believe me? Just read through some of the tweets that are tagged with the #Terps hashtag. Like this one, or this one, or this one, or this one, or ... okay, you get the point.
Part of the issue is that fans have heard of Mike Leach, the Texas Tech coach rumored to be the frontrunner for the position, and haven't really heard of Edsall. There's a logical argument that Leach isn't all that he's made out to be and would represent too big a risk for the program. There's also a logical argument that the Terps will fill Byrd Stadium for a winner, no matter who the coach may be.
But at the end of the day, many Maryland fans are rightfully asking this question: is Randy Edsall the kind of coach that can take Maryland from "good to great," which is what Kevin Anderson said in justifying his decision to fire Ralph Friedgen? Based on his record, it's tough to say yes.
On the simplest level, Edsall simply didn't win all that much at Connecticut. In 12 seasons at Connecticut, Edsall finished 74-70, with only two shares of the Big East title. This year was the first year they played in a BCS bowl game, and they got clobbered 48-20 by Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Friedgen, on the other hand, went 75-50 in 10 seasons at Maryland, with just as many BCS bowl appearances.
But it goes a little deeper than that. The truth is that looking at the records here are a bit misleading. Edsell may be just 74-70, but he also was the coach that brought Connecticut up from Division I-AA. He built the program into a respectable one from nothing, which merits a lot of credit. Finally, while Friedgen may by 75-50 in 10 years, he was just 44-42 after going 31-8 in his first three years. So to say Edsell is a downgrade is probably false.
Is he an upgrade, though? That's tough to say. At it's core, Maryland has replaced one man who did a solid job leading a non-football school to modest success with another man who did a solid job leading a non-football school to some success. The only difference is that the new man is younger than the man he is replacing.
Maybe Anderson's talk was PR speak, but it shouldn't have been. Many, including me, feel this program needed a game-changer, someone who could convince a lagging fanbase to come to Byrd Stadium even if the team is experiencing only modest success. Mike Leach may have failed spectacularly, but at least he was that guy. I'm not sure Randy Edsell is, and I think that explains the negativity.