Ouch. As you probably already know, former Miami head coach Randy Shannon turned down Maryland's offer to become their defensive coordinator, which means the spot is still vacant and uncertain. I'm not going to rehash the entire situation, but in short Maryland offered, things looked good, and then everyone realized that Shannon would lose his very significant buyout money from The U if he took the job, which was more than Maryland could pay him.
It's tough to blame Shannon: he would've lost $1.5mil from Miami if he took the job, which is approximately twice what Maryland was paying Don Brown. If Maryland upped their offer to $1.5mil, Shannon would become the highest-paid DC in college football, and that's not money Maryland has to throw around. Even still, he'd essentially be working for free, as Maryland wouldn't be providing anything more than the same he could get sitting around at home. And this way, maybe he can work for ESPN and get some dough on the side.
So on Shannon's side, it's pretty logical. There's almost nothing Maryland could've done to get him to follow through. But we're not really concerned with Shannon at this point: this is a Maryland blog, and we care about the Maryland perspective. So, let's take a stab at answering the question of the moment: what was Kevin Anderson thinking when he brought in a nigh-unhireable DC and tried to hire him?
The simple answer: he probably didn't know. It doesn't even seem like Shannon knew, as he reportedly called Maryland back post-offer to let them know that, oh by the way, he'd be losing more than a mil in the transaction. The fact that even Shannon didn't know makes Anderson's ignorance slightly more palatable to me, but only slightly.
It's still rather heinous. Maybe not for the act itself, but instead for what it does to morale. He saw what happened when he mentioned Mike Leach and his name floated out there as someone who was all but hired: when Edsall was the guy instead, Maryland fans were caught somewhere between disappointment and ire. It was demoralizing and severely stunted the momentum Maryland football was regaining in the fanbase.
This is basically Part II of the Leach fiasco. Give Anderson/Edsall credit: if nothing else, they went after a big name. The problem is that the big name became public pretty quickly, which led to the Leach-style dreaming from the fanbase. Then came the offer. And the dreams got bigger. Then came this, and now everyone is freaking out, because the perfect candidate in the fans' mind was just pulled out from under their feet. A fanbase can only take so much teasing before they become numb.
I'm not upset that they didn't figure out a way to pay Shannon $2mil, because that's just unrealistic. I am upset that they interviewed, offered, and leaked a big name without knowing whether or not he was attainable. If they couldn't get the name, they had to know fans would be disappointed, which means you make sure he can be had. They didn't, and now we're seeing the blowback.
I've never been a "sky is falling" type of guy, and even now Maryland still has places to go. After all, they were going to have to pay Shannon about $1mil or so anyway, and that money didn't just go away. That type of dough can and will attract some seriously big names, or at least some seriously big résumés, which is more important anyway.
The two familiar names are Kevin Lempa, Maryland's former DB coach, and Todd Bradford, the current ILB coach and former Southern Miss DC. Neither make any type of sense - Lempa was fired by Edsall and Bradford failed at USM - so I'm not worried quite yet.
The other names won't be as big as Shannon's, but they could still target great local recruiters like Iowa's Darrell Wilson or Penn State's Larry Johnson Sr., who single-handedly turned Maryland in Penn State territory earlier in the decade. Or maybe Chris Cosh returns...nah. (Though he could recruit).
The biggest problem is how long this taken. Through all this, you have defensive players without playbooks or game film to study, which is inhibiting their growth in the system. Meanwhile, recruiting ground in 2012 is being lost every second. The longer this drags on, the worse it is for all involved.