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Testudo Times Roundtable: The Randy Edsall era is over

Testudo Times staff writers and contributors gather to discuss Randy Edsall's firing and what comes next for Maryland this season.

Testudo Times Roundtable

Week of 10/12

Q: What was your high and low point of the Randy Edsall era?

Todd: Sadly, the first thought that entered my mind as a high point was needlessly cruel. And, though I'm not a nice person, I try to avoid being needlessly cruel so I'll have to say the win at Penn State because it ended decades of frustration. As for a low point, there are simply so many to choose from but maybe I have to say the balance of the 2011-2012 season because while I wasn't thrilled with his hire, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. That one season killed my hopes for success for his entire tenure.

Carson: I have to agree with Todd. Beating Penn State after being bullied by them for a long time prior to that was very refreshing and I personally enjoyed the pre-game non-handshakes, even though some may view that whole incident as childish. It was just nice to see that we weren't going to take their BS anymore, and then backed it up on the field. Low point has to be Bowling Green, mainly because it's the most recent and in my opinion, the most embarrassing.

Jake S: Well since I've only been here since August there haven't been many moments for me to experience. I did watch the Penn State game last year and I was not a big fan of them at the time so I'd say that's my high point. It was fun to watch the captains walk away from the Penn State captains too. The low point for me was Michigan. I understand losing, but not like that.

Andrew K.: High point - a tie between beating State Pen(n) and the Virginia Tech victory. Both were close games in hostile territory.  We hadn't beaten State Pen(n) in decades, and VA Tech was heavily favored over us. Low point was the NC State game in 2011. We were 2-9 at the time, but had a chance to knock NC State out of bowl contention. The game was in Raleigh, and I think we were up by three scores before a meltdown occurred. It was an awful way to end a putrid season, and I thought at the time that Maryland would never be successful under Edsall.

Justin: The high point was the win at Penn State last season. It was not just a big win because Maryland beat Penn State for only the second time, but because it showed we could be competitive in the Big 10 after everyone had written us off at the beginning of the season. The low point had to be the embarrassing losses this season, specifically the losses to Bowling Green and Michigan.

Brian B: In case you are wondering, the Terps held a 41-14 lead in the third quarter of that NC State game Andrew is referencing before a collapse of epic proportions. For me though, the high point was Edsall's first game ever against Miami, purely because it was the last time I remember having an enjoyable time at a Maryland football game, they won, and those crazy jerseys garnered national attention. The low point was certainly Bowling Green, which was the last game I attended during the Edsall era and it did a pretty good job at summing up my experiences at Byrd over the past four plus fans, no energy, no talent (or perhaps wasted talent), no wins and most importantly, no fun.

Drew: First of all, the Wiz Khalifa tweet takes the cake. The obvious football high point for me was the Penn State win last season just because it felt good to finally knock them off, especially after refusing to shake their hands in a move of absolute savagery. But the sneaky high point for me may very well have come last week when he stormed out of the Ohio State press conference. I was strangely proud of him for actually showing some fire in the face of adversity. It's really pick your poison with so many low points to choose from, but mine has to be this year's beatdown at the hands of West Virginia. While we weren't expected to win, it was a rivalry game. To see such a heartless on-field effort combined with such questionable coaching really signaled the end The Randy Edsall Experiment.

Sammi: The high point of Edsall's time with the Terps, hmm... obviously Penn State win, just because I despise Penn State with a passion and we finally had enough of that crap.  Also, the press conference outburst and the Wiz tweet (as Drew mentioned) were incredible parts of the show he put on here at UMD.  The low point for me is absolutely Bowling Green.  So many things went wrong... like I just got so tired of seeing the Bowling Green cheerleaders run around the field with that giant flag every two seconds.  And then to see the quarterbacks giving up and throwing the ball at the ground at times was embarrassing.

Noah: The high point for me was Randy's first game at Maryland. The result was an exciting conference win against Miami in a back-and-forth game to open the season. My twin sister went to Miami so bragging rights were on the line after they beat Maryland the year before. There were many, many low points for me in the Randy Edsall era but the meltdown at Rutgers in the regular season finale last season seems to stand out to me.

Q: If you had one word to describe Randy Edsall's tenure as Maryland head coach, what would it be?

Todd: Demotivating.

Carson: Lousy

Jake S: Frustrating.

Andrew K.: Waste.

Justin: Inconsistent

Brian B: Unacceptable.

Drew: Embarrassing

Sammi: Anticlimactic

Noah: Disappointing

Q: What will Randy Edsall's legacy at Maryland be?

Todd: 22-34. 0-12. 24 transfers after one season. 15 losses by at least 3 touchdowns.

Carson: Off the field, I think he (in large part with Locksley) deserve credit for their recruiting efforts no doubt. But on the field, exactly what Todd says. Just a poor job at coaching football games.

Jake S: I'm pretty sure he had one win against a team that finished that season with a winning record. So there's that.

Andrew K.: It's hard to say exactly what a legacy will be until there's sufficient time post-Edsall to see how things eventually play themselves out. If I had to guess, I would say that Edsall will stand out as the exception to the good results Kevin Anderson has had in regards to coaching hires.

Justin: It will be remembered as a disappointment. Too many blowout losses and not enough wins against lower competition.

Brian B: If Maryland football ever finds a way to climb back to the top of the mountain, or even like...half way up the mountain, Randy's ‘legacy' will more or less be forgotten. While his work off the field was admirable, fans ultimately care about results on it, and Randy created very few memorable moments in that regard.

Drew: Right now, Randy Edsall's legacy is solidifying the idea that Maryland is a basketball school for the foreseeable future. He was supposed to take the program from good to great, but instead took it in the opposite direction. His last hope for any positive legacy at the school lies on the shoulders of Dwayne Haskins, and even that will no him little to no good.

Sammi: He will be remembered as that one guy that was great at everything but his job.  Seriously, the recruiting was great.  But the coaching was so terrible, and the team gave up so many games... that's all that matters in the end.  He's kind of like that business major in your class, and he really doesn't know what he's doing, but his parents obviously made him go for that major, so he's just kind of there. That's what Edsall's coaching resembles.

Noah: Complex. He led Maryland to consecutive bowl games and helped grow the DMV to UMD movement. He also lost a lot of games and lost them by a lot. In fact, half of his 34 losses came by 20 points or more. Losing big games and losing games big will be a major part of his legacy.

Q: Who should Maryland target first and second for their head coaching job at the end of the season and why?

Todd: Sorry, there are so many names I just can't make a reasonable contribution. With that said, the names I like are (in no particular order): 1) the retired guy who used to coach Ole Miss because the ice cream flavor and "Nutt-y" play puns would be off the chart; 2) Alabama's defensive coordinator because he'd be a Smart hire; 3) Western Kentucky's head coach for a wide open passing offense that we could call Brohm's Away; 4) the guy from Temple because he might break some Rhules and, 5) Ken Niumatalolo just because I want to spend a few years listening to Johnny Holliday trying to say Niumatalolo.

Carson: I'm not confident that I know many of the guys on Pete's article well enough to make a reasonable choice and not sound like an asshat but I'll try. After doing some research, it sounds like Frank Reich would be a solid choice with the right staff around him. I also would be interested in Fuente from Memphis but that seems somewhat of a longshot based on the turnaround of Memphis and the fact he'll probably solicit a better gig somewhere else in a couple years. I also think anyone who thinks Chip Kelly is walking through that door is delusional.

Jake S: I agree with Carson that I'm not familiar with a bunch of the guys in Pete's article enough. I think anyone who wants Lane Kiffin to come here is out of their mind. It would be interesting to see Niumatalolo just because he's done so well at Navy. I don't think that would translate here, though. Maybe Ed Orgeron? Great motivator, defensive minded, but probably would have a hard time recruiting in an area he's unfamiliar with. I also like Fickell from Ohio State.

Andrew K.: A head or assistant coach associated with a power five school, who has shown success over more than a single season.

Justin: I don't think an established college coach is going to want to come here, especially after the South Carolina and USC jobs open up. The first choice for me would be Justin Fuente due to his stellar job at Memphis, I would also go after Frank Reich since he is a Maryland alum and is an experienced coach at the NFL level. I also agree with Carson in that anyone who thinks Maryland can hire Chip Kelly is delusional.

Brian B: John Harbaugh anyone? I am not inclined nor qualified to start spurting out names, since the list of potential replacements at this point appears to be quite long. I would think the fans would have a strong desire for this hire to be a coach whom is essentially the polar opposite of Edsall. I believe SVP said they need to find a coach that can make more out of less (i.e. Ralph), because even with a new state of the art football facility it is hard to imagine Maryland competing with PSU, and other B1G schools for prime recruits on a consistent basis.

Drew: Pete's article did a tremendous job outlining every candidate that Maryland would pursue. I, like everyone here, acknowledge that decisions like these are above my paygrade. That being said, I can firmly state that I want absolutely nothing to do with Lane Kiffin and agree that anybody who wants to bank on Chip Kelly is going to be disappointed. The recent openings at both USC schools are unfortunate and will deflect top candidates away from College Park.

Sammi: We should kidnap Jim Harbaugh from Michigan and make him coach our team.  Haha, just kidding.  Hmm... let's go with Frank Reich.  A former Terp, he has coaching experience and great ability to lead this team out of this low point.  If that's not possible, then I should become the head coach.  One thing's for certain: Chip Kelly is not going to happen.

Noah: Dan Wolken of USA Today told me that Maryland should go hard after Rich Rodriguez of Arizona. I think that Maryland has a better chance to get Pep Hamilton, the offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts. The hard part? If Chuck Pagano stays on as the head coach past this season, would Pep ever leave Andrew Luck?

Q: Now to the quarterback position. What did you think of Perry Hills' performance against Ohio State?

Todd: Very much up and down. He climbed higher in the running part of his performance than we could have reasonably expected. But oh, the passing.

Carson: He ran the ball well. But he still has pasta for an arm.

Jake S: I answer with a question. What's going to happen when teams focus on stopping him from running?

Andrew K.: I admire his grit and determination. But with a porous offensive line it seemed like he was constantly under siege. Hills takes a long time to get set and doesn't have a quick release, so he needs more time to go through his progressions without having defenders pounding down on him. Hills first instinct is to tuck and run when under pressure, which worked against OSU. But future opponents will watch the game's film and start to counter that.

Justin: Hills still struggled with accuracy, but brought a new toughness to the Maryland offense. This was a team that stressed a more physical brand of football during the offseason, and now they have that option with Hills under center. He gives them the ability for the read option, which can spice up the playbook.

Brian B: He may not have the strongest arm, but the Terps scored 28 points and had the Buckeyes sweating for a good portion of the game, I would imagine the quarterbacking job at this point is Hills (Hills's?) to lose.

Drew: If anybody had Hills outrushing Elliott before the game, I tip my cap to you. He kept the game respectable before the 4th Quarter, but at the end of the day if he can't throw the ball then Maryland's offense is going to run into the same problems that lead to him losing the starting job earlier this year.

Sammi: Hey, he threw touchdowns.  TOUCHDOWNS.  Something the Terps have been in desperate search of.  However, he was good at times and at other times he absolutely struggles with throwing the ball.  But hey, he's been named the starter.  Let's see how that one turns out.

Noah: He showed a lot of toughness and man, does he have some wheels. He got the Maryland offense going again after it had shown no signs of life in the previous two games. Perry didn't make it look pretty last week but the scoreboard showed 28 points for Maryland. That is all that matters.

Q: Maryland scored 28 points on the road against top-ranked Ohio State. Who does that tell you more about, Ohio State's defense or Maryland's offense?

Todd: Am I having a moment of deja vu or did you ask this question last week? In this case, I'd have to say Ohio State's defense. Touchdown one came on a play action pass after Hills lined up under center that got Moore so wide open that it survived the underthrow. Touchdown two came after that absurdly long scramble and the last touchdown was basically meaningless.

Carson: Yeah I think I would say Ohio State's defense as well. They have struggled a bit this year and Maryland's 28 points are a good example of how. I think we've seen what Maryland has offensively. It's not like they were playing at an all-time level on Saturday.

Jake S: OSU's defense. As Todd explained, all of Maryland's touchdowns could've ended differently. All year we've heard people say that Ohio State hasn't been as impressive as a No. 1 team should be. I think that was proven Saturday.

Andrew K.: Probably OSU's defense. While it was nice that Maryland threw in some new wrinkles on offense, this is a team that's struggled to score against competitive FBS schools. The fact that Maryland was able to bust two huge plays is a sign that OSU's defense is not as staunch as advertised.

Justin: OSU's defense. Ohio State has talent on the defensive side of the ball, but they haven't been able to shut down opponents this season. I thought they would bounce back after a close call against Indiana and dominate Maryland, and I was shocked to see the game tied in the third quarter.

Brian B: I imagine Buckeyes fans would blame their own team for the relative closeness of the game in the third quarter, rather than giving any credit to the Terps offense for actually being competent...I would imagine that they are probably right.

Drew: It definitely speaks to OSU's defense. The No. 1 team in the nation shouldn't let Perry Hills run all over them.

Sammi: It speaks volumes about OSU's defense.  Think about it.  Our team, which is struggling probably the most right now and has three's company of quarterbacks who can't throw for their lives, scored four touchdowns against the best team in the United States.  That's not okay.

Noah: It's easy to say that it says more about Ohio State's defense so I will play the contrarian once again. Who knows how Maryland would have done offensively against West Virginia and Michigan if Hills had been allowed to grow and gain consistency on offense? I would guess that they would have produced more than six points in those two games if they had allowed Hills to be himself like he was on Saturday.

Q: If you are Mike Locksley, what changes, if any, do you make on offense?

Todd: I think I just continue to open things up. This is basically a nothing to lose situation for the rest of the season. So, let's see how creative he can be.

Carson: Exactly. Air it out, run triple fly sweep reverses. Spider 2Y banana's (whatever the hell that play is that Gruden LOVES). Let it rip. Nothing to lose. I did like how when asked who was the starting QB he said Perry Hills, no hesitation, no dancing like Edsall did at times. Not that it was necessarily the same situation since Hills performed alright but still. I enjoy knowing what we're walking into before Saturday at 11:45.

Jake S: What they said.

Andrew K.: Maryland tends to throw a lot on first down, unsuccessfully most of the time. My suggestion would be to run more on first down, using the read option and Hill's legs or some misdirection runs. Forget the north-south approach with the current offensive line.

Justin: Since Hills has had success running the ball, I would add the read option to keep opponents off guard. I would definitely run more on first down, which could set up shorter passing situations for Hills' weak arm.

Brian B: First and second downs should almost ALWAYS be a run into the line, third downs should be bubble screens, or another run into the line depending on distance. Always punt on fourth down, because what the people really want to see is a good field position battle.

Drew: Carson hit the nail on the head. Spider 2Y Bananas all game.

Sammi: I couldn't say it better than Carson.  Nothing to lose.  Something about bananas.  Preach.

Noah: Use the read-option to keep teams off-balance. Maryland is not expected to win any of their remaining games so they should not be afraid to get aggressive with the play-calling. Conservative play-calling will not help.

Q: Maryland has a bye week this week. What area/aspect of the team needs the most improvement going into the Penn State game?

Todd: Defense.

Carson: Offense.

Jake S: Just so we cover all three aspects of the game I'll go with special teams. On a serious note, it has to be the offense. Penn State isn't OSU or Michigan so I think the defense will be fine.

Andrew K.: The secondary and outside linebackers.

Justin: The secondary. If Christian Hackenberg has time to throw, he could have a big game against the Terps.

Brian B: Yes.

Drew: Offense and Defense.

Sammi: Can I say everything?  But seriously, the offense needs to generate against Penn State or this will be the most disappointing event since Bowling Green.

Noah: I think run defense needs the most help. That is an area where the team struggled against Ohio State and it is an area where Penn State excels.

Q: Halfway through Maryland's season, what is their grade so far?

Todd: D. I guess I'm grading on a curve. Given the way Michigan has played, retrospectively, the only realistic win on Maryland's schedule to date that they don't have is Bowling Green. Two competitive quarters against Michigan and three and a half against Ohio State along with the two wins avoid the failing grade on their midterm.

Carson: D-. Essentially what Todd said, Michigan was being talked about as a "toss up" game during the pre-season but now LOL at that thought. With everything that's gone on, you can blame Edsall, which certainly he was a major contributing factor, however the team has still looked bad and even though a lot of that is on the coaching staff, a lot of that is on the players as well. They will need to show some heart in the second half of the season to bring that grade up.

Jake S: D+. I give the team credit for competing with Ohio State whether that had to do with Ohio State struggling or not. The defense kept them in the game against Michigan, but they also got ripped apart against Bowling Green and WVU. Teams respond to a coaching change, so hopefully we see stronger play in the second half.

Andrew K.: "F". Basically they're 0-4: Richmond and South Florida are awful, so against any sort of competition the team is winless.

Brian B: "E", having a background in education I have been instructed to never hand out Fs...because that implies failure, and we wouldn't want to hurt the poor Terps feelings, instead they get an E, which is now the lowest possible grade one can receive (that is a true fact about the public schooling system in the great state of lies!) In all seriousness though, this has been the most unwatchable season for Maryland football during my entire tenure as a fan, and they've had some BAD years in that stretch.

Justin: D-, the only reason they don't get an F is because they have two wins, so the season hasn't been a complete failure. This was supposed to be a down year for the program, but I don't think anyone in the athletic department expected this poor of a season.

Drew: A very very low D-. If I was actually Maryland's teacher in this theoretical situation, it would be time for a parent-teacher conference. The two wins really don't validate anything in my eyes and the glaring losses speak for themselves. Nobody expected huge things coming into this season but nobody expected this.  Their offense has been a train wreck and they have been impossible to watch as a unit.

Sammi: A 59.5 percent.  So it counts as a D, the lowest D possible. The reason it's not an E is because the defense has had some strong showings and there have been two W's.  That's gotta account for something... right?  And extra credit to Kevin Anderson for taking action.  Yeah, it's a pain to watch them sometimes.

Noah: D-. Maryland has only won two games this season and they got blown out by three touchdowns or more in each of their four losses. Their head coach got fired mid-season. It has been a tough season to watch for Maryland fans and definitely one to forget so far.