Edsall Previews Spring Practice

Coach Edsall and the Maryland football team is ready to put 2011 behind them and focus on 2012.

It's been a long offseason for the Maryland football team after its dismal 2-10 season, but with spring practice set to start on Saturday Randy Edsall believes that his team is one that's on the rise.

After undergoing a winter conditioning program that Edsall said he was very pleased with, the team is excited about finally beginning practices outside.

“It's great to have a chance to get back out on the field,” said Edsall. “It's been a very productive winter conditioning program, and now we get to go to the next phase where we get to start to improve upon our fundamentals and techniques and get ourselves ready for 2012.”

Having spring practice and a new season on the horizon are welcomed sights for the Terrapins, as Edsall said that despite having moved forward from the 2011 season it still has “left a bad taste in everyone's mouth.”

“What we're going to do is we're just going to focus and concentrate on 2012 … we know that what we have to do is let our actions speak louder than words,” he said.

The Terps will open spring practice with C.J. Brown as the primary quarterback, a position that has been left thin after quarterback Danny O'Brien's decision to transfer last month.

“We're going to just go full go and let everybody hit C.J. all spring,” joked Edsall about the teams' lack of depth at the position.

Maryland has brought in quarterback Ricky Shultz, a transfer from Shepherd University, to work with the second-string team throughout the spring while they await the arrival of 2012 QB recruits Caleb Rowe and Perry Hills.

Even though Brown has a clear hold on the position, Edsall says his quarterback doesn't show it in his play.

“C.J.'s a competitor,” said Edsall. “Even though he knows that he's the guy, C.J. is going to go out there and just work his tail off each and every day. He's a guy that's a leader, he's respected, he's got a tremendous work ethic, and I don't see any issues with C.J. at all.”

While he admitted that he is disappointed that some players decided to move on, Edsall said that he is excited to now be able to get other players plenty of reps throughout the spring. He also noted that the team had 22 freshmen see playing time last year, who he said gained “valuable experience and knowledge.” Edsall was also particularly impressed with the group of redshirt freshmen from last season.

“Those guys have worked extremely hard. They took advantage of being redshirted in terms of getting bigger and stronger,” he said. “Now we get a chance to coach them up a lot more than we were in the fall … That's the fun part about spring practice, you really get into getting your hands dirty in terms of coaching and really developing these guys.”

Edsall also discussed his decision to move coach Lyndon Johnson to just overseeing the two outside linebacker positions - called Sam and Will - and making Andre Powell the special teams coach.

“Probably the two most important positions in our defense are the Sam and the Will,” said Edsall. “As I looked at it I decided I'm not being fair to our team and to the players if I have Lyndon coaching both those guys plus be special teams coach. I'm very fortunate because I think Lyndon does a great job with everything he's been asked to do, but also then having the luxury of having a guy like Andre who's here, who has coached special teams before.”

Even though both the offense and the defense will be different with the additions of Mike Locksley as offensive coordinator and Brian Stewart as defensive coordinator, Edsall does not foresee many problems for his players with switching schemes.

“CJ has been involved in this type of an offense back in high school, and he's intelligent, he'll pick it up. The other guys will pick it up. The biggest thing is a lot of it is terminology that they have to get used to. Defensively, our guys won't have a problem picking it up. It's a different approach but it's a simplistic defense.”

Going into spring practice Edsall said that there are five main things he and the team have been discussing that they need to do in order to be successful. The first, he said, is making sure that everyone is all-in and understands what the program is all about. He also wants to see a higher standard of competition, including treating every play like it is a player's last. The third thing he would like to see is a better job at finishing games, which, he pointed out, was an issue last season. Finally, he wants his team to be tougher physically and tougher mentally.

“All the other stuff is there, but unless we continue to get better in these areas we're not going to be able to accomplish the things we're going to want to accomplish,” Edsall said.

Edsall spoke highly of several players' potential, including Marcus Leak, A.J. Francis, Demetrius Hartsfield, and Tyler Cierski. He's also excited about the players in the Terps' incoming recruiting class, whom he believes understand what the program is trying to do.

“That's why we were able to sign a Top 35 class in the country, because they understand what this is all about and how we're going to aid them in their development and their growth as they go through their career here at Maryland,” he said.

Despite his high hopes for both spring practice and next season, Edsall knows that there are still fans that are unhappy and think the program isn't moving forward at a fast enough pace.

“My thing is that when you go through change and you go through transition, it doesn't happen overnight,” he said. “We're on the right track … Understand it's happening. It might not be happening maybe as quick as some people would like, but if we're going to do something we're going to do it the right way.”

TerrapinTimes Top Stories