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Q&A with Maryland football coach Randy Edsall

The embattled coach talks about his difficult first season and how the Terps will turn things around

December 27, 2011|By Peter Schmuck, The Baltimore Sun

I guess what I would say is where wasn't I kinder and gentler this year? That's what I would say. I think there are approaches that you take from a standpoint of: Are there things that we will do a little bit differently? Yes, we will. Because, again, when you're in the position we're in and you get a lay of the landscape and you get a feel for everything that's going on and you get a feel for your players and understand your players a little bit more as far as what we need to do to sell our program a little bit more, yeah, there will be some things that will be different, but I'm not going to compromise the values of this institution and what this institution stands for and what I think is best for these young men in terms of structure, discipline, being a parent away from home, being a mentor, being a coach, being a teacher. I'm not going to sacrifice any of those. If I do that, then I'm cheating our players. That's one thing I'm not going to do. But like I said, when you make the statement "kinder and gentler," I don't think I've pulled any Woody Hayeses or Bobby Knights, throwing chairs across the floor.

Did you want to?

(Laughing.) Yeah, there probably were some times when you want to do that. But I think you can never be somebody that you're not. I just know that, in terms of dealing with our players, I see things that have happened to them that have been very, very positive. The thing that happens in this day and age, a lot of people don't want to hear some of the positive things. Everybody just wants to write the things that will create the controversy that will stand out there to create the headline, and I can give you plenty of examples of a lot of good things. But ultimately, when you are 2-10, there are going to be more things that are written that aren't going to be favorable.

I think one of the reasons that Terrapin fans were particularly frustrated was that they came into this season excited that the team had this NFL-prospect quarterback in Danny O'Brien who was going to be around for a while, and it just didn't work out that way this season for a variety of reasons. Could you just explain what you think happened there and where you see Danny going from here in your program?

I think sometimes there can be expectations upon people and sometimes there are a lot of different things that go into what can transpire. I think what happens is, when things don't go the way people would expect them to go, you've got to be able to fight through things. There are some things as we go forward, as we evaluated, the one thing I wanted to be able to do is to utilize our players and do the things that they do well and accentuate their strengths. And those are the things we will do as we continue as we move forward with our program, just do things that our players can do to the best of their abilities so our program can be the most successful.

You've already made one coaching change. Can you go over the situation with Crowton and why it transpired the way it transpired?

I can't talk about any personnel issues, and I won't talk about any personnel issues. We're in a process where we're evaluating the program, and there are things that are going to be there and some things that we won't talk about. Personnel is one of those things.

You've said many times, there's winning and there's winning the right way, that you want to win the right way in the context of Maryland football and the University of Maryland. Can you put that more specifically, what you mean by that? What is winning the right way?

I think when you take a look at some of the issues that are out there in college athletics today, in terms of schools — and I'm not going to name the schools — but I think college athletics, there are rules and regulations that the NCAA, which is the governing body of who we represent, has, and my only thing is that we have these rules and regulations and all we're going to do is follow those rules and regulations. This institution has rules and regulations that we have to follow, and so all I want to is make sure the program that I'm in charge of, the University of Maryland, plays by the rules of the NCAA and plays by the rules of the University of Maryland. That's what I mean by winning the right way.

You've taken it a step further, in that you've talked a lot about character issues, and not just following the rules, but how you shape character. Three of these players may play in the NFL and make enough money to live the rest of their lives, and the rest of them have got to go out and get jobs. You've talked a lot about that, that part of your job, whether you have two wins or 10 wins, is shaping these guys. How important is that to you as far as building a winning football team?

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