In truth, Randy Edsall has never been particularly well-liked among Maryland fans.
From pretty much the very moment he was named head coach of the Terrapins back in 2011, there always just seemed to be something a little bit awkward about this particular marriage of coach and program. Edsall’s bizarre proclamation at his introductory press conference that Maryland was his “dream job” was clearly forced—a weak ploy to ingratiate himself with the Terps faithful—and in the four years that have since passed, no matter what the coach has done (including delivering a 7-6 season in his first year in the Big Ten), the fans down in College Park just haven’t embraced him.
Simply put, Edsall is not, and never has been, a popular figure. Which wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if he was delivering the wins.
But right now, he isn’t. And as this still-young 2015 season crumbles around him, one gets the sense that both the Terps and their coach are on the brink of total collapse.
Edsall’s Terrapins are currently 2-2 on the season, which doesn’t really look all that bad. But anyone who has seen the Terps play this season knows just how poorly they are playing at the moment—and how much trouble they’ll be in when they start Big Ten play this weekend against resurgent Michigan.
In their two losses—a 48-27 Week 2 loss to Bowling Green, and last week’s nightmarish 45-6 loss to West Virginia—the Terps have been flat-out awful, and even in their (very modest) victories this year—over Richmond and South Florida—they haven’t been particularly great.
Their defense, which got shredded by the better teams in the Big Ten last year, still looks too weak, too slow and too unathletic to compete with even average teams, and their offense has been far too turnover-prone; no team in the country has thrown more interceptions (12) than have the Terps. This simply isn’t a very good football team at the moment. And already, it’s showing signs of coming apart at the seams.
In the wake of that dreadful loss to the Mountaineers last week, Maryland players reportedly called a players-only meeting in hopes of getting the season back on track. Such meetings are always a sign of trouble, but in this case, the trouble was two-fold; not only did the players find this meeting necessary after just four weeks of play, but when he was asked about it at his press conference this week, Edsall said he had no idea that the meeting occurred.
“That’s news to me,” Edsall said according to MLive.com. “If the players had the meeting and something productive came out of it, I think that’s great. … I had my normal 7 (a.m.) team meeting, I had no idea there was a players-only meeting.”
Maybe it would be unfair to overreact here. Maybe we would be reading too much into the fact that Edsall wasn’t aware of a team meeting that everyone else around the program knew had occurred. And maybe the Terps aren’t as bad as their performances so far would suggest.
But here’s what we do know: The Terrapins this week are taking on a Michigan team, coached by Jim Harbaugh, that is playing its best football in years and just crushed a very good BYU team. Next weekend, the Terps have to play Ohio State. And then there’s Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan State, all in a row.
The way they’re playing right now, the Terps won’t win any of those games, and it’s entirely possible that some of them will be blowout losses.
Can this team stick together if and when those blowout losses come to fruition?
Are more players-only meetings on the horizon?
Will the Terrapins completely fall apart?
We’re about to find out. If the Terps show up this weekend and at least put up a fight against Michigan, maybe that means Edsall hasn’t lost this team—and that maybe the season can be saved.
But if the Terps lay another egg?
Well, then the heat on Edsall will only turn up further. There would certainly be more questions—and unlike this week, the coach will be expected to have actual answers.