When Randy Edsall came from Storrs to College Park, Maryland had just won nine games and drowned East Carolina with points in the 2010 Military Bowl in Washington, D.C.
Ralph “The Fridge” Friedgen had just been fired because the folks in College Park didn’t want to visit the Military Bowl in late December. And “The Fridge” had posted a 2-10 record the year before.
Edsall was hired by the new athletic director who had been at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY.
Edsall’s first season was full of drama, innuendo and losses. The record was 2-10 and the player defections were numerous. There was no Military Bowl invitation issued to play at RFK Stadium.
In his second season at Byrd Stadium, Edsall had beaten William & Mary by a point and found wins against Connecticut, Wake Forest and Virginia. The record after six games was 4-2.
But there were still six games on the 2012 schedule. All conference games. Only Boston College was going to miss a bowl.
Edsall and the Terrapins lost those last six games. Three of those defeats came with the stinging scores of 33-13 against Georgia Tech, 45-10 versus Clemson and 41-14 to Florida State.
The record was finalized at 4-8. After two years, Edsall had given Athletic Director Kevin Anderson a 6-18 overall record.
Maryland’s six home games had an average attendance of 36,022. Injuries decimated Edsall’s list of quarterbacks. A converted linebacker who had been a high school quarterback was the last man standing.
Maryland had a minus two yards rushing in a win over Virginia. It had 34 ground yards against Florida State and 46 yards versus West Virginia. There was never a game where a player rushed for more than one touchdown. There were 41 passing yards in the loss to Clemson and 109 air yards against Connecticut. The most first downs Maryland ever had was 22.
The Terp defense had only four pass interceptions in its dozen games. Opponents averaged over 200 passing yards a game and WVU threw for 338 yards. Besides the loss to West Virginia, three other teams beat the Terps with over 300 passing yards.
Anderson has no control over the conference games Maryland has to play, but he found Florida Atlantic, Old Dominion and Connecticut for three of the non-conference opponents. The Terps face WVU at Ravens Stadium in Baltimore on Sept. 21 for the fourth non-conference game.
Maryland’s preseason depth chart shows only three seniors starting on defense. However, there are six projected starters — Cole Ferrand, Dexter McDougle, L.A. Goree, Jeremiah Johnson, Anthony Nixon and Darius Kilgo — that had at least 40 tackles last season.
Halfback Brandon Ross led the Terps with only 390 rushing yards last year. He is listed as a starter. Stefon Diggs was a ACC Media Day selection as the preseason, first-team return specialist. As a freshman, Diggs caught 54 passes for 848 yards and six touchdowns.
Ricardo Young is listed ahead of C.J. Brown, Caleb Rowe and Perry Hills at quarterback. Hills threw for 1,336 yards as Maryland’s most prolific passer a year ago.
Should they remain standing and healthy, the five interior line starters will be Sal Conaboy, Andrew Zeller, De’Onte Arnett, Nick Kiemm and Mike Madaras.
Florida International. Old Dominion. And then the final eight games against Florida State, Virginia, Wake Forest, Clemson, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Boston College and N.C. State.
Maryland still has its closets full of Under Armor uniforms, shoes and helmets. But all the color and design combinations featuring the state flag hues of yellow, black, red and white didn’t help last season.
This is Edsall’s third season. What if the Military Bowl can’t accommodate the Terrapins for a late December date?