COLLEGE PARK — — Maryland football coach Randy Edsall said Thursday that there is "misinformation" in the media about rules he has imposed — such as not permitting players to wear ball caps, do-rags or earrings during meetings — and that team members aren't complaining about the tighter discipline.
"I think there is a lot of misinformation out there in terms of people wanting to be able to write stuff and fabricate things about what's going on," Edsall told reporters.
"I think a lot of people made a mountain out of a molehill, to tell you the truth. To me, if it's wrong to tell somebody to make sure they don't have their hat on in the building, I guess I was raised the wrong way."
Edsall's comments came as he previewed August practices, which open Tuesday. The coach, hired from Connecticut in January, said he was not fazed that the Terps, 9-4 last season, were picked fifth in the Atlantic Division last month by media members covering Atlantic Coast Conference teams. "You want my honest answer? Who were the people picking it? It'll just give us a little more incentive, a little more sense of urgency to prove people wrong," he said.
Edsall entered the Gossett Football Team House carrying a football manufactured by Under Armour, the athletic apparel and footwear company. Maryland's offense will use an Under Armour football this season for the first time. Quarterback Danny O'Brien, an intern for Under Armour this summer, has been throwing and handling the new ball during the offseason
The media questions Thursday occasionally veered to off-the-field topics such as attendance and team rules. Season-ticket sales have slumped the past five years, and Maryland has struggled to lease all the luxury suites and premium seating in the renovated Tyser Tower, part of Byrd Stadium. Edsall said Maryland was "getting close" to topping 20,000 season tickets — a goal that was not met last season. The coach's contract contains a $100,000 bonus if season ticket sales increase 25 percent or more in a year.
Edsall appeared not to want to harp on team rules — a subject he believes has been overplayed. At the same time, he seemed eager to explain his position. "It's just trying to help them be the best they can be. If we don't have structure, if we don't have discipline, and if we don't have accountability, we ain't winning very many games, I can tell you that," the coach said.
Besides barring caps and earrings inside the team house, Edsall has said Maryland's new uniforms will no longer include players' names on the backs of jerseys. The coach was also strictly enforcing rules against tardiness at meetings and workouts during spring practices.
Senior running back Davin Meggett — whom Edsall said will be a "workhorse" and an "every-down back" — said the team has transitioned smoothly to its new coach and new offensive and defensive coordinators. He said the Terps, who return five starters on offense and seven on defense, have retained momentum from last season's strong finish.
"It's easy to expect us to do at least as well as last season," Meggett, a team captain, said in an interview earlier this week.
Maryland opens the season at home on Labor Day evening against Miami on ESPN. It's the first time the Terps will open with a conference game since 2001.
Edsall said it will be "one of the biggest openers that this program has had in quite some time."
Notes: Edsall announced that four walk-on players — long snapper Tim Downs, receiver Webb Dulin, defensive back Anthony Green and tight end Ryan Schlothauer (Eastern Tech) — have been placed on scholarship for the upcoming season. … Edsall has also added a walk-on quarterback, transfer James Joseph from Bowie State. The Terps now have four quarterbacks. … Maryland said offensive lineman Justin Gilbert (knee) is not expected to be ready to play until October.