Maryland's Edsall getting a fresh start

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Sports,College,Kevin Dunleavy

Coach is trying to put ugly season in the past

It's Randy Edsall's second year at Maryland. Just about everything else has changed. The Terrapins have a new turf field, a revamped roster sprinkled with promising freshmen, three new coordinators, new schemes on offense and defense and even new uniforms with names on the back.

After a disastrous 2-10 season full of internal drama and player defections, Edsall is anxious to leave his difficult transition season behind.

"I want our guys to understand that as we go into this year, it's a whole new year," Edsall said. "All the things that I envisioned when I came here, you see it starting to come together. I think that's the neat thing. Now what we've got to do is go out on the field and win."

After inheriting a 9-4 team from fired Ralph Friedgen, Edsall was careful last year not to use the word "rebuilding." But he did little in the name of continuity. Strict rules were enacted, malcontents were run off and many others left, unwilling to buy in. When the Terps' 102 players assembled Sunday night, Edsall felt a greater sense of trust.

"Coming into the meeting last night, it was a lot different. You could feel it in the air," Edsall said. "The things I talked about last night were the things I talked about a year ago. But they get it now."

After making national news last year for their gaudy, state flag-themed uniforms, the Terps showcased another new set Monday, which were comparatively understated. The surprise was that names were on the back, a departure from Edsall's first season, when the Terps went anonymous for the first time in 50 years.

Another change, of course, is a new set of coordinators -- Mike Locksley (offense), Brian Stewart (defense) and Andre Powell (special teams). Locksley will guide the transition from a spread to a pro-style offense. Stewart will oversee the shift from a 4-3 to a 3-4 set.

Edsall addressed the changes in terms of lessons learned from 2011.

"I saw where we weren't going in the right direction," Edsall said. "You have your principles. You stick to them. But when there are things you know you've got to change, you gotta step up and make those decisions."

With some high-profile freshmen, including wide receiver Stefon Diggs and running backs Wes Brown and Albert Reid, Edsall will have other tough decisions. He said that the best players will be in the lineup, regardless of experience. The freshmen are buried on the depth chart for now.

Diggs, the most highly touted of the class, said he feels no urgency to play immediately and enters with no expectations.

"I wake up every morning and put my socks on like everybody else," said Diggs, who is rooming with senior wideout Kevin Dorsey. "I'm ready to learn, ready to be a sponge, a lot of guys pushing me, teaching me."

In many ways, however, Diggs represents the 2012 Terps. He brings the possibility of a fresh start for Edsall and a bright future for the program.

kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com

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Kevin Dunleavy

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner