The performance of Coach Edsall is clearly a hot topic right now. We have completed almost a full season so I thought it would be appropriate to examine his coaching philosophy and what we will get for the next 3+ years.
Edsall's main objective as a coach is to teach the young men discipline. Kevin Anderson is from Army and his "Good to Great" motto is based on using a disciplined approach to everything in life. No surprise that Edsall was Anderson's guy. Football is a very complex sport requiring the coordination of all 11 players on the field. Discipline is definitely required whether it means defensive players staying home to cover their assigned gaps or offensive players running the correct passing routes. But how are these concepts put in place by Edsall? Is he effectively leading the team?
I'm not in the locker room or on the practice field so my only examples of Edsall implementing discipline are what I see during games in person and on TV. Here are a few examples to examine:
1. Let's start with the first game of the season against MIami... ahh, the highlight of Maryland football. Miami was driving down the field to set up a potentially game winning score. They faced a critical 4th down that turned into a Cameron Chism INT for TD. I was at the game and Byrd Stadium absolutely exploded during and after the play. Rather than come congratulate Chism for making a HUGE stop, Edsall decided to chew him out for returning the INT. A guy makes one of the biggest plays of the game and Edsall does not celebrate, does not congratulate, does not encourage the player who stepped up and made the play. He yelled at him for not getting down and not being "disciplined". I don't even think getting down is necessarily the right play. I think it's more likely to fumble a snap on a kneel down (Giants-Eagles anyone?) than to miss a PAT, give up a TD in the last 30 seconds, and give up a 2 point conversion. If Edsall really thinks getting down is the correct play, tell Chism about it during the film session. Let the kid enjoy his time in the spotlight. Why would anyone want to play for a coach that will yell at you after making a game saving play?
2. The next example is Edsall's need to suspend players indefinitely for a violation of team rules. The first part of this approach is good. If a player is late to a meeting, they should face consequences. I remember Friedgen suspending a bunch of starters for the 1st half of the Humanitarian Bowl because they missed curfew. They screwed up and paid the price. Edsall does not have a set punishment for any violation. The punishment is always suspension until the player kisses Edsall's ass enough to get playing time back. Edsall apparently needs the power trip of players being yes men for him to put them on the field after they screw up.
3. My third example is the lack of names on the jerseys. Edsall claims he doesn't have names on the jerseys because the players should be playing for the name on the front of the jersey. WTF? Bullshit! The names are very important for fans (remember us?), parents, and recruits. I honestly cannot follow any of the players because there are no names. I hate it. I probably won't renew my season tickets next year and this is one of the contributing factors (not the only, but it's one of many). Besides my complaining, if a player is playing for himself only, Edsall would just bench him (DJ Adams is an example apparently due to TD celebrations). Literally having the name does not change the way a player plays.
There are many other examples, but I'm tired of writing and I'm hoping others will add more in the comments section. I think it all comes down to Edsall emphasizing the negatives and not celebrating the positives. Discipline is great and very important, but Edsall is doing a very poor job of implementing discipline. Football is a game for fun and entertainment.
Put me in the Edsall sucks camp. Firing Edsall is not an option so there's no reason to chat it at games or say it on message boards. I hope Edsall makes adjustments in the off season and the team takes a big step in year 2 of the Edsall era.