Bickel’s Blog: Shut Up And Win

I have to say I’m quickly losing any zeal I may have had for new Maryland football coach Randy Edsall.  There’s no denying I was upset with the way Ralph Friedgen’s departure was handled.  Maybe it had to happen maybe it didn’t.  I don’t know.  Either way I’m certainly not objective on the matter.  I liked Ralph.

Still I was begrudgingly willing to accept whoever Maryland hired because at the end of the day I’m a two time graduate of the University and I love my alma mater. To be completely honest, if Ralph had to go I wanted the school to hire Mike Leach.  We interviewed him on the radio a few times and he was fantastic.  I thought he’d be great in College Park. When that didn’t happen and Randy Edsall became the guy, I was willing to support him.

The first thing that kind of annoyed me was de-emphasizing the Terrapin logo and Terps nickname and making Maryland the primary focus of the program.  I admit, this is a petty little thing.  But I never particularly identified myself with the state of Maryland when I was a student there.  I was a proud Terp.  I don’t care about Turtles either. But for some reason I felt like being a student in College Park meant being a Terrapin and not as much about representing every backwards town in Maryland.  Nevertheless, I will stipulate that this is minor and probably just a pet peeve of mine.  Regardless it did bug me.

Coach Edsall also announced that he was taking the names off the back off the jerseys and making it all about the team and less about the individual.  For some reason, this bugged me too.  I felt bad for the kids that worked so hard to earn scholarships to the University and couldn’t wait to have their own names on the back of their jerseys. Can you imagine how proud a player and his family must feel to see their names on the uniforms representing the University?  To take that thrill away seemed a little sad to me, but I understand the overall point.  No biggie in and of itself I guess.

Then we get to Uniform Gate. It’s cool to change uniforms every once in a while.  It’s not like we have the football tradition of Penn State or Alabama.  We need to stay current and give the kids what they want.  But my God do we have to make such a big deal about the uniforms?  Do they have to be so damn ugly? This topic has been killed in talk radio and the blogosphere, so I won’t rehash in this space.  Needless to say though, it’s ok to talk about your uniforms when you’re winning.  Beating Miami on national TV made those awful state flag things almost tolerable.  But when you get blown out by Temple, now it’s not as endearing.  I don’t care which of the 67 different combinations that you’re wearing either. Nobody cares when you lose.

Obviously, losing is the root of most dissatisfaction with the program. Eric Prisbell of the Washington Post was one of the first to report that players have already grown weary of the militaristic nature of the new regime.  The emphasis on things like being clean shaven, no hats in the building, no jewelry, etc has taken it’s toll on the players that were used to a completely different atmosphere.  One reporter told me there seemed to be a sense of a near mutiny by some of the players.

You better believe the players noticed when Coach Edsall took on the most prominent and most respected member of the team in Danny O’Brien too.  Sure O’Brien hasn’t played up to his standard from last year. But most thought he deserved more rope after being the ACC Freshman of the year and the unquestioned leader of the football team.

People also noticed when he took shots at the previous staff.  To suggest that this was a rebuilding job was insulting to Ralph and to the kids that finished 9-4, and won a Bowl Game last season.  Edsall later tried to clarify his comments and say he wasn’t trying to denigrate Ralph.  But the damage was done.

What finally put me over the edge was another annoying comment after another MD loss this time to Florida State.  Edsall made a point of saying he was going to put more of an emphasis on recruiting speed and athleticism.  As if nobody in College Park had ever thought of that.

Personally, I think Torry Smith and Darious Heyward Bey were pretty fast.  So was Vernon Davis.  I think Shawn Merriman was basically a combine freak too.  All of those guys were recruited by the previous coach.  I guess we need to remind Edsall of that.

It’s so annoying because the first thing EVERY college coach says when he’s hired in a new spot is he’s going to recruit speed and athleticism. Who doesn’t do that?  It goes without saying.  Nobody thinks you’re going to recruit slow guys.  And if you think it’s not a shot at the previous staff- well we strongly disagree.

Speaking of the former staff, I’d personally appreciate it if Edsall stopped tweeting about all the NFL players that are playing this Sunday or Monday night.  You my friend, had nothing to do with those guys. They aren’t part of your legacy.  In fact, they are a part of the legacy that you keep going out of your way to trash.

You know what your legacy at MD is Mr Edsall?  It’s getting blown out by Temple for the first time in school history.  It’s blowing a huge lead to Clemson on homecoming.  It’s being 2-5 with a team that was 9-4 last season.  You want to change all that?  Shut up and win.

More from Bickel's Blog
  • Rodge Stumbaugh

    I couldn’t agree more. I have followed UMD sports most of my life and since Ralph and Gary are gone, I just can’t seem to get interested. The current regime doesn’t care about me, they want to make the school more money, what a shame. Biggest difference between Edsell and Ralph? Ralph could motivate a team of lesser players to beat a better team. I don’t blame Ralph a bit for feeling the way he does, I agree totally with him.

  • John Fitzmaurice


    Nothing else needs to be said.

  • Jason B.

    Well said, EB. As an alum myself, couldn’t agree more.

  • Bill

    One thing that makes sec football great is how much those teams are loved by the people of those states. The fact that you want being a fan of md sports to be reserved for graduates of the university only is close minded and annoys me. I am completely for the university reaching out to people who may not have been privileged enough to attend md.

  • Alex The Terp

    I am a Proud Maryland Alumni (Class of 1977), a student during Jerry Claiborne’s best years…four straight bowls games. A season ticket holder for 25+ years.

    I agree the UA Uniform “promotional” is over done and Coach Edsall’s style (the names off the uniform included) is not to my liking.

    I think we now see the “negatives” going from an Alumni Head Coach to a non-alumni head coach. Coach Edsall does not understand what it is to Be A Terp, but Randy Edsall is Captain of the Ship.

    I’ve been down in South Florida for six (6) years now. Like the other ACC schools, he needs to recruit from here. The 12 months of good weather conditioning has resulted in athelticism and speed of Florida HS football players.

    Coach Edsall come on down…I’ll pick you up at PBI.

  • BeltwayBoySports

    Ralph was done wrong and I’m not happy with Randy Edsall at all!

  • josh

    Yup. On point, as expected from EB. Edsall has not done a single respectful or right thing by Maryland, as far as I can see yet.

  • Gene Williams Jr

    I agree with you EB. You are straight and to the point. Ralph got the shaft!!!! and this new guys Edsall is gonna lose alot of his players. I can expect to see at least 40 percent of them to TRANSFER because of Coach Edsall and MR ANDERSON da AD in charge

  • junkiespownEdsall

    EB keep trashing this bum.

    Terrible at uconn 1-16 vs. ranked teams. Garbage!

    Can’t wait till he gets fired. Keep trashing this donk everyday

  • Daily Slop: Shanahan Hopes to Have Cooley Back; Bills Matchup Previews | Sports Feedr

    […] Bickel’s Blog: Shut Up And Win ” CBS WashingtonRandy Edsall has made a lot of questionable changes and said a few rude remarks recently. Along with the losing, he’s irritating me a lot. […]

  • Daniel

    Its the University of MARYLAND.True MD natives are loving the new MD flag jerseys because it shows off the state. MD alum should be happy with all the new jerseys because its good marketing for a company created by MD alum. there was no tradition and it was time for a change. its Edsall’s program now so let him do his thing. But on a football matter, Edsall needs to win some games otherwise it wont be a long stay for him..

    • Diana

      what’s going on with MD coach Edsall needs to win more games.I hope things change real soon…..

  • Bruce Redcay

    You failed to point out that Ralph failed to win with Heywood-Bey or Smith and those teams were beyond mediocre. Your bias is so strong that your ass-wipe friend Leach didn’t get the job that you can’t see beyond your a**hole.

  • Jon


    I normally agree with you on a lot of things, but respectfully I have to call you out on some stuff here.

    1) The distinction between TERP and MARYLAND: You say you were on campus and felt like a TERP. Good for you. I grew up a huge MD fan, but because of my athletic pipe dreams didn’t go there. I ended up getting my degree from Salisbury (big up to the Papa). I grew up in MoCo watching MD sports and consider myself a HUGE fan. Saying that they should maybe play up TERPS instead of MARYLAND is a little insulting. It’s like you’re saying since I’m not “a Terp”, my fandom means less. Last I checked, the victory song’s lyrics say “MARYLAND WILL WIN!”, not “Terps will win!” GO MARYLAND!

    2) Names on the Jerseys: While point 1 might be a little nitpicky, on this topic I have to disagree wholeheartedly. Lots of kids these days coming up and looking at college sports see these teams as ways to advance their own agendas (make it to the NFL, make it to the NBA, whatever). What Edsall is trying to teach them is that being a part of the whole can make them greater than they ever could be individually. The kids that buy into this will learn humility, dedication, brotherhood, and teamwork. They will learn that sometimes, in those very special cases, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. What Edsall is saying here is that if you are here for personal recognition only, you’re not my guy. It’s similar to Gary not recruiting “one and done” guys. Edsall and Gary both want(ed) guys that would come in, work their tails off, and make the TEAM better while growing their own selves in the process. He wants to build a program where guys come in to work on all of the things I mentioned above. The great college coaches (Krzyzewski, Gary, JoePa, Bob Knight, etc) are teachers, only they don’t teach Calculus or English Literature. They teach discipline, they teach dedication, and they teach these kids how to be better athletes and better people.

    3) In regards to the tweets, I LOVE THEM. This is still MD football. Edsall has come in and implemented his theories, but is going that extra mile to make himself a part of the program as a whole. He accepts that guys came before him and guys will come after him, but that they all share one thing: a vested interest in and, hopefully, a strong dedication to Maryland sports.

    There’s my manifesto. I hope you enjoyed it.


  • Wyoungs

    Md missed the boat on leach- all he would have done was win games, pack the stands and grad. Players——- T he Md Ad had no strawberries to hire leach and now the only people at Byrd stadium are birds and free tickets — nice hird.

  • Dave

    This new coach bugs the p!$$ outta me. As a MD alum and fan I now have no interest in going to the games like I use to. I feel bad for the current team members and ALL MD alum football fans. It reminds me of the skins all over again, a team you root for being taken over by rude, ignorant jerks managing at the top.

  • Wayne Youngs

    Can it get much worst than it is- no wins- no quality recruiting and more importantly- no people in the stands. Hey AD how is that choir boy working out!!! Leach was your man- you would be on the way to a bowl and the stands would have been packed- hope you make better decisions in your next job.

    This guy is like the car of his namesake- nice to look at but it does not work!!!!!!!

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