Edsall has some regret over UConn departure
When he left Connecticut to take over at Maryland, Randy Edsall was criticized for how he handled his departure. While his players flew back to UConn after losing to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, Edsall took a separate plane to Maryland and onto greener pastures.
On Tuesday, Edsall expressed regret that many of his former players heard of his decision through the media or from friends.
"If I had a do-over, and it's something I have to live with, I wish I could have talked to those players in person," Edsall said. "But the circumstances in our profession, it didn't allow that."
|UConn at Maryland|
|When »||Saturday, 12:30 p.m.|
|Where »||Byrd Stadium,||College Park|
|TV »||Fox 5|
With Edsall guiding Maryland (2-0) Saturday against visiting UConn (1-1), there's little doubt which team will have the motivational edge. More than 50 of the current Huskies came to Storrs to play for Edsall.
"It's not going to be hard to get fired up for that one," defensive tackle Ryan Wirth told the Associated Press at a media session on Tuesday. "That's about it. That's all I'm going to say about that."
This will be the first meeting between the teams in 70 years, but there is plenty of familiarity. Five UConn assistants who served under Edsall were retained by coach Paul Pasqualoni. Maryland assistant Lyndon Johnson was on Edsall's staff at UConn.
"They know me pretty well. But this week is no different," Edsall said. "When the game's over, there's people that I'll see and say hello to and wish them well."
One of those that Edsall is unlikely to extend good wishes to is Huskies defensive coordinator Don Brown, formerly a Maryland assistant, who agreed to stay with the Terps under Edsall before changing his mind when an offer came from UConn. He now guides a defense that ranks No. 1 in the nation against the rush (28.5 yards per game) and No. 3 in scoring (5 points per game).
When Edsall was at Connecticut, he worked hard to schedule a game at Maryland. He viewed a date at Byrd Stadium as an opportunity to stake out recruiting turf in the talent-rich Washington area. He also saw it as a personal homecoming as he grew up in Southern Pennsylvania, coming to College Park for games and basketball camps.
Little did he know then that he would be on the opposite sideline.
"I was fortunate that [UConn] gave me an opportunity to be a head coach. I'll always be indebted to the people from the state of Connecticut and the university," Edsall said. "It's just one of those things. When I came here, this is where I grew up, watching games here, going to basketball camp here, being a Baltimore fan all my life, all those sports teams."
Maryland players said that Edsall's message to them in practice has been that this is just another game on the schedule.
"There might be some animosity on their side, but at the end of the day, we're just out there trying to get three and out," Maryland defensive lineman A.J. Francis said. "It's just going to come down to who executes more."