Cumberland Times-News

Mike Burke - Sports

September 13, 2012

Just another game? Don’t buy that one

Maryland football coach Randy Edsall says he has nothing but fond memories of his time as the Connecticut football coach. The Connecticut football players, most of whom Edsall recruited and then left in the middle of the Bob Irsay night following their blowout loss in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, to a man say that while the manner in which Edsall departed likely bothers some people around Storrs, it certainly doesn’t bother them.

Just another game, the Maryland coach says of Saturday’s match-up at Byrd Stadium when his current team hosts his former team. Just the next game to come along on the schedule say the UConn players.

Mm-hm, and Gary Williams and Geno Auriemma were just the next basketball coaches to come along in College Park and Stoors (It’s just too nice of a day to mention Calhoun).

As of Thursday afternoon the Huskies were listed as three-point favorites, meaning if this game were being played at a neutral site (say, Glendale, Ariz.?), the Huskies would be a six-point favorite. That means the oddsmakers believe UConn is better than Maryland, which, despite the Terps’ surprising win at Temple, is not too difficult to grasp at this stage.

Thus, since there is unlikely to be a raucous sellout crowd going Dawg Pound tomorrow at Byrd, an intangible advantage for Maryland might be Edsall, who should know the strengths, weaknesses and tendencies of most of the UConn players better than UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni does himself, as Edsall is the one who recruited them. On top of that, despite his cardboard demeanor, Edsall could serve as a lightning rod tomorrow afternoon, whether he wants to or not, for given the circumstances, which make even the most ardent Maryland supporter wince, this being just another game for the Connecticut players is an emotional impossibility.

Just as any college football coach will on the recruiting trail, Edsall promised these players and their parents, if not the moon, that it would always be Us against The World. Yet when the The World, or in this case Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson, came a courting, Edsall left without so much as a “See ya.” This just after teaching former UConn running back Jordan Todman a life’s lesson by ordering him to tell his teammates face-to-face he was leaving the Huskies early to turn pro.

“It’s something I have to live with,” Edsall said Tuesday. “I wish I could have talked to those players in person. But the circumstances in our profession didn’t allow that, and that’s something I have to live with.”

If the circumstances were greed and self-fulfillment, then no, they wouldn’t have allowed that. Living up to the example of the face-to-face lesson he was seemingly trying to teach Todman, though, would have demanded it.

“It is a game that is UConn versus Maryland,” senior UConn linebacker Sio Moore told the Middletown (Conn.) Press, crystal clear in his awareness that if the Huskies take the field tomorrow psyched out of their gords for personal payback purposes, they could be in for a very long day. “We have to go in there and play. If we go in there full of emotion like that, we won’t be able to concentrate on what you need to. What we need to do is make sure we execute.”

Edsall, who has maintained that Maryland has long been his dream job, told the media this week he scheduled this game as the UConn coach with the intention of coming back to the area, as he is a native of Glen Rock, Pa., a mere 90-minute drive from College Park. “It’s just one of those things, when I came here, this is where I grew up,” he said. “When I was at Connecticut, I just thought it would be a good game for us in terms of recruiting down here, but also from the standpoint, just to get back down in this area.”

Well, he’s back in the area, and after a disastrous first season at Maryland, on the field and in the PR department, he revamped his coaching staff, turned in an outstanding recruiting year and even took some instruction on working and playing well with others. After two games, the Terps, at 2-0, have already equalled their win total of a year ago and enter tomorrow’s game with their coach’s former team on the mission of approaching it as just another game.

 “People that you (have recruited), you’ve gotten to know, you do,” Edsall said. “You follow them. But hey, you wish them well in every game except when you’re going to play them.”

Or after you lure them to a place they had likely never heard of in their lives, then leave them without so much as a goodbye.

Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at mburke@times-news.com

 

1
Text Only
Mike Burke - Sports
  • O’s, Pirates will be buyers, but when?

    Not that we should expect any blockbuster deals to go down as Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline approaches, but the names you hear in Baltimore are catcher Kurt Suzuki and starting pitchers Ian Kennedy, A.J. Burnett and Jorge De La Rosa.

    July 27, 2014

  • Peanuts and Cracker Jack beat any foam finger

    Times have changed, and for the better, as this week marks the third year in a row NFL training camps have opened and have not taken center stage in the cities of Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Washington. That, of course, is due to the play of the three baseball teams that inhabit said cities, the Orioles, the Pirates and the Nationals — two of whom hold first place in their respective divisions, with the other one entering play on Wednesday just 2 1/2 games out of first.

    July 23, 2014

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Further proof you should never bet on baseball

    Had you known in March that ...

    July 16, 2014

  • What have we learned this past month?

    Some serious soccer withdrawal is on the horizon for disciples of the Beautiful Game as the month of mania concludes Sunday with the World Cup final. Germany and Argentina, I believe?

    July 11, 2014

  • A man of the Midwest, of Cumberland, and a friend

    His obituary was neither extravagant nor trumpeting. Yet it was a fitting tribute to the man and the life he lived. It was succinct yet sincere. Like the man, it was gracious and understated, and it was filled with love and with warmth, and all of the names of his family and the things in his life that made him memorable.

    July 9, 2014

  • Reign of the entire planet is at stake

    I’ve given up my LeBron Hate. Don’t misunderstand, I have no LeBron Love or even LeBron Like. It’s more like LeBron Lethargy, although that’s probably too strong of a way to describe my indifference because, while I never root for his teams, it’s impossible to take your eyes off him when he’s playing.

    June 15, 2014

  • This German is one ugly American

    Our soccer friends are beside themselves because the World Cup began yesterday. Look to a watering hole near you for a large collection of soccer enthusiasts when the United States plays its first game (match?) Monday against Ghana.

    June 12, 2014

  • Terps look to the West, like what they see

    What a perfectly strange and wonderful weekend it was for area high school football, and we’re just a third of the way through June. Not strange in a negative way, mind you, but strange as in, boy, this doesn’t happen too often around here any more, much less twice in the same weekend.

    June 11, 2014

  • In the know are these Go-Go O’s

    They are a team that led the American League in home runs last season with 45 more than the league average. Then they add a player who currently leads the majors in homers and is on a pace to hit 58 for the season. They are third in the American League in batting average and sixth in slugging percentage. Yet they are 13th in runs scored because they believe in the double steal and try to steal home with a 53-home run hitter at the plate with two outs in extra innings. They continue to have a hitter who delivered 51 doubles last year put down sacrifice bunts, and they employ a third-base coach who is under the impression his job is to collect tolls on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge ...

    June 8, 2014