Not since the days of Chris Rix bowling over Ralph Friedgen on the sidelines versus Florida State a decade ago (Friedgen, artificial hip and all, later quipped he bowed-up and took on the hit from the powerful, 6-foot-3, 220-pound Seminoles quarterback), has there perhaps been as celebrated a coaches' sideline play as Randy Edsall's two-handed grab of an errant Iowa pass Oct. 18 at Byrd.
It made College Football Final's top plays over the weekend, and the sure-handed grab both Edsall, and the media, had a little fun with Oct. 19, while basking in the 38-31 homecoming win.
"You know, just natural instincts," Edsall joked. "Standing there...and I'll tell you what, I think I might have a better vertical jump [laugh] than some of our guys. But it's amazing, amazing stuff you do and you don't expect it. This day, with social media and everything else, how things get out there. I have had more compliments and more notoriety for that than a lot of other things in my career.
"I think I got up about a total of two inches, so you know..."
Edsall joked that he still "has a little athletic ability. And now I can show the guys, 'Hey, you got to go up and extend for the ball. And if you do that you got a chance to catch it.' But we had some fun with it, I got teased a little bit about it by the players, but all in fun."
Meanwhile, back to the game, Edsall said that after the first two series the Terps settled in and played well and with better technique, and most importantly won the turnover battle with some opportunistic play.
"I thought that our guys did a good job. One thing, that when you take a look back at the game, we were able to win the turnover battle," Edsall said of Maryland's 3-2 advantage, including the Will Likely pick-six that broke the game open.
"So again we won that, and I thought we did a good job against them on third down, 7-of-21, and we did a good job in that we had quite a few big plays offensively, 11 of them. So overall, I thought it was a good win for us," Edsall said. "But again, the thing that we got to continue to do is work each day to get better, as there were some things out there we didn't do as well as we would have liked to just because we did not play with good technique, good fundamentals. And that's the stuff we drill on each and every week to get better and we will do that today."
Edsall said the game balls went to C.J. Brown on offense, Darius Kilgo on defense and Anthony Nixon on special teams. Kilgo (six tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery) and the defensive line came up big time after time, including Andre Monroe (six tackles, one tackle for loss) and Yannick Ngakoue (seven tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble). Meanwhile, Brown, despite getting dinged, led the team with 99 rushing yards and had better balance in the pass-run game despite two picks.
When asked about injuries to running back Brandon Ross and linebacker Matt Robinson, which forced them to leave the game late, Edsall said "we're good injury-wise."
As for Brown, who was drilled late in the back and had to leave the game with an upper muscle track injury, Edsall said:
"Yeah, he was good," Edsall said. "In the meeting today he was really good, no issue, other than just I am sure all of our guys are sore. That was a tough, physical ball game. And as I told them, if you are not sore, and if you are not a little bruised, then you were not playing as hard as you could. But they were playing hard, so I know they were bruised up a little bit, but we'll go out there today and get the blood flowing and work out the kinks a little bit and they will be off tomorrow. And they will be all rejuvenated and ready to go come Tuesday."
On Brown's play, in both the run and the pass, Edsall said of his decision-making and improved play in taking what the defense was giving him:
"Again, that position, not everything always is going to go the way you want it," Edsall said. "He made a lot of very good plays, I thought he ran the ball extremely well. There's some plays that he would like to have back, as every player yesterday would like to have back. But I thought he showed great leadership, great poise and great determination with what he did. And we wouldn't have won the ball game without him."
Meanwhile, Edsall said of senior receiver Deon Long (zero catches), who exited the game mid-way and was replaced by deep reserve sophomore Amba Etta-Tawo, who had three grabs for 46 yards and showed more consistent hands than usual:
"We have a lot of confidence in our receivers. And it's just like any position, if guys aren't playing up to the level of the expectations that we have for them, then we got guys around here that we feel can go in and do a really good job. I am really proud of Amba, Amba got an opportunity to go in there and play and ended up having three catches, and a couple big catches. And Juwann Winfree is talented and he works, and so we have no problem rotating guys in there.
"And again, around here guys are going to have to play hard all the time. And if you don't there's other guys we feel comfortable with putting in the ballgame that will go in there and have earned the right to go out there and get reps. Just the things that we do here in terms of the level of competition, and guys know if I go out and work hard and I can be productive and I can execute and I can do things that the coaches are asking me to do then I can find a way on the field."
Edsall said that as for some of the slow starts of late, the "score at the end of the day" is all that counts. He said defensively the Terps didn't do their jobs/assignments the first two series, but then settled in "and they see the results of what can happen."
Edsall said Robinson (seven tackles, three breakups) was good to have back in the mix, with his veteran presence and communication skills. He is the Terps best linebacker in coverage, an area the unit has suffered of late after he missed three consecutive starts.
The Iowa win improved Maryland to 5-2 as they enter the toughest part of their Big Ten schedule with three of the next five on the road. But Edsall didn't want to hear anything about "statement games" and the like looking back on the win over the Hawkeyes.
"Everybody and statement games, they're all games," an animated Edsall said. "There are no statement games around here at all. I have never believed in that stuff. I mean every game....you get 12 of them, every one of them should be a statement game. So I don't get that, I don't understand it. For us, it was a game that we played, we won, we put it in the bank, we got five wins, we're 2-1 [league], and now we put that in the bank and we're onto Wisconsin.
"So that's all for you guys to write about or for the fans to talk about and everything else. Because what we got to do is just focus and concentrate on every game, and it doesn't matter because if you go win a statement game and you go lose everything else, well what good does it do?"
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