I'm the first to admit it: I'm not a Randy Edsall fan. Or at least I haven't been to date. Between the firing of the Fridge and Edsall's terrible first season at Maryland, I've been pretty unwilling to give him the benefit of the doubt (even though he has, admittedly, dealt with more than his share of injuries). The loss at Syracuse was one of the lowest points in my time as a Maryland football fan (since I started school in 2000 - although I was a basketball fan, I can't honestly say I really followed the football program before I was a student).
Since the Syracuse game, though, I've started to warm up to Edsall a bit. The VT win was impressive on its own, but Edsall won some additional sympathy with his ridiculous, idiotic exuberance after the win. For everything he's done, it was hard to dislike the guy in that moment. The BC loss was a heartbreaker, but overall, it was a decent game against a pretty good opponent. It was a game we should have won, but ultimately, sometimes close games don't go the way we like.
All of which has gotten me thinking about the merits of comparing Edsall to Friedgen. Friedgen, in his first three years, achieved a level of success that we haven't seen at any time in the last twenty-five years. Maybe, just maybe, it's unrealistic to compare Edsall to that level of success. I think it's also somewhat unfair to compare him to James Franklin. In hindsight, it's pretty clear that we had something pretty special with Franklin, and I think he could have really succeeded as Maryland's coach. That's not what I was saying in 2009-2010, though, so I don't think it's fair to criticize the AD for not picking him up then.
So who should we compare Edsall to? I think the fairest comparisons are Krivak, Duffner, and Vanderlinen. Against that competition, Edsall looks to be a bit better than par for the course, although he's got a chance to really set himself apart from the pack with a good performance next year. Let's look at the comparisons:
Krivak - 5 years - 20-34-2 (37%) - 1 bowl game (tie) - Signature win: #8 Virginia (1990)
Duffner - 5 years - 20-35 (36%) - 6-5 in 1995 (no bowl) - Signature win: WVU (1995)?
Vanderlinen - 4 years - 15-29 (34%) - no winning seasons - Signature win: NCSt (2000)
Edsall - 3 years - 12-23 (34%) - one bowl game TBD - Signature win: @VT (2013)
The good news? Edsall's generally ahead of the pack (or at least tied with Krivak) since he's already got a bowl game and could potentially have a 7-8 win season this year. If he's successful next year, he could easily be the second best Maryland football coach of the past 25 years. Even if he goes 6-6 next year, he'd have a better winning percentage and more bowl appearances in 4 years than any of the other coaches in this comparison.
The bad news? He's pretty much in the same league as the coaches in Maryland's "Dark Years." That's not a good group to be part of , even if you're leading the group.
All of which is 500 words to say that I've come to terms with Edsall for another year/couple of years. I've also come to really appreciate what Friedgen was able to do with his time here. At the same time, I don't think we really missed that much by letting him go when we did. Realistically, he had 3 more seasons, at most. And if he stayed that long, I think Franklin would have probably left anyway. Letting Friedgen go was a tough decision, but it was defensible given his age and recent performance/recruiting (even if I don't necessarily agree with the decision).
At the end of the day, Edsall's probably an average-to-above-average coach for the modern Maryland program. There's a substantial risk that if we drop him, whoever we pick up will do worse. I'm no longer opposed to letting him coach a year or two in the B1G to see what he can do. I'm not quite on the bandwagon yet, but if he can do reasonably well over the next 12 months, I might be ready to by my ticket at the end of next season.