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Developing depth a key component to Maryland's recent success under Edsall

Since his arrival in 2011, Randy Edsall has rebuilt a Maryland program and developed depth across the board.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

When news broke Saturday morning that Maryland would be without outside linebacker Matt Robinson, linebacker Alex Twine and running back Albert Reid, it appeared the Terps could be in for a long day against Indiana in their first ever B1G conference game.

The Hoosiers, coming off an impressive upset win over #18 Missouri, featured arguably the best and most consistent running back in the nation in Tevin Coleman. The junior running back entered Saturday's game with five rushing touchdowns, along with 569 yards, averaging 7.9 yards per carry in his first four games of the season. With Maryland missing so many key components of their linebacking unit, the Hoosiers seemed poised to ride Coleman and their short passing game to another victory. And with Maryland also missing running back Albert Reid, their run game could have potentially struggled once again, placing an even greater emphasis on the passing game for Maryland. On top of all of that, defensive end Quinton Jefferson and and tight end Andrew Isaacs were both lost for the season with knee injuries the previous week against Syracuse. Oh and did I mention starting corner Alvin Hill tore his PCL and was also lost for the season?

Suddenly, my prediction of Maryland winning their first ever B1G conference game didn't seem very realistic. But then a funny thing happened; Maryland not only beat Indiana on the road, they blew them out. It wasn't particularly close. Their defense, for the most part, contained Tevin Coleman for most of the game. The offense scored points. A good time was had by all who love Maryland. So how did Maryland win? Well, a number of things play into that, but one that hasn't really been discussed a lot is the depth that has been developed throughout this team under head coach Randy Edsall's watch.

Here's the two deep depth chart prior to Maryland's first game of the season against James Madison. Here's the depth chart prior to the game against Indiana. Make sure you take a look at wide receiver and then remember who didn't play for Maryland on defense on Saturday. And also remember that during the game, Maryland lost C.J. Brown but Caleb Rowe stepped right in and helped Maryland keep their foot on the accelerator as they coasted to that 37-15 victory.

There are a lot of team with a lot of talented players out there. But a lot of them struggle when they can't rely on their backups to immediately step in and maintain the same level of play as the starters. It's arguably one of the reasons why Maryland struggled towards the end of Ralph Friedgen's tenure. Once Friedgen's team were supported by just the players he recruited, Maryland went from winning 10+ game for three years straight to records of 5-6, 5-6, 9-4, 6-7, 8-5, 2-10, 9-4. They lost the consistency they'd built over Friedgen's first three years and eventually the fan support that was generated with it.

Edsall has done a great job of bringing a lot of talent to College Park during his tenure as head coach of the Terrapins. I don't think everything he's done has been perfect, but he and his staff have worked diligently to find lesser recruited kids and helped them to develop and shine, while also landing some key blue chip recruits like Stefon Diggs and Damian Prince. He's living up to his reputation as a program building coach, slowly but surely improving his team with each recruiting class. In doing so, he's ensuring that injuries or other factors that prevent a player from playing won't drastically impact his team's bottom line win total. Last year is a perfect example of that. Despite losing their top two wide receivers, Maryland was still able to upset Virginia Tech on the road and go to a bowl game.

This is exactly what he was able to do at UConn, eventually putting the Huskies in a position where they won eight or more games four years in a row before Edsall left to take the job at Maryland. Maintaining that level of consistency is a hugely important component for continuing to build the Maryland football program in the Big Ten. The history of Maryland football has been filled with three to five years of dominance, followed by a decade of mediocrity; rinse, wash and repeat. That's not the best way to build a consistent level of fan base support. Under Edsall, the hope is that what he's built should help Maryland avoid those horrible lows that can set a program back for years in terms of recruiting and fan support. If Maryland can consistently go to bowl games while they continue to build and improve their program, there is no reason why they can't regularly win an average of seven or eight games per year, sometimes going a win or two higher and others a win or two lower. If Edsall is able to achieve that, Maryland will be able to continue to both build their fan support and their competitiveness in the Big Ten.

Hopefully Maryland's continued success so far this season, despite the loss of several key players, is a sign that that program building foundation is now in place, allowing Maryland to become the consistent program we all desperately want so much.