COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- It was a bit of "old home week" as Randy Edsall welcomed the media to the inner-sanctum of his offices for his Thursday Fireside Chat, this time an actual fireside scene, glowing logs and all, playing both on the video screen and on Edsall's laptop as we arrived at the dimly-lit room.
It was a cozy feel, and Edsall looked back with a bit of nostalgia on his days as a young Terp fan growing up in Southern Pennsylvania, with names like Avellini, Carter and Manges rolling off his tongue. For a moment there, we thought Terps football SID Matt Taylor was going to roll out hot apple cider and ginger snaps as the Terps ready for their trip to the Great White North, and some possible wintry mix, tomorrow at State College.
And it was perhaps his most at ease and candid Edsall has been in these mostly off-the-record sessions. He mentioned a recent Harrisburg, Pa., television segment he caught of former Terp greats Gary Collins and Dick Shiner talking up the Terps-PSU series.
"And our kids know Gary [Collins] because last year when we honored the consensus All-Americans, and he was here and talked to the team," Edsall said about the many connections and ties in the series.
Collins reminisced about past games in the series, while last night Shiner joined Edsall on his weekly radio show, along with Terps senior defensive lineman and Pennsylvania native Spencer Myers.
Edsall will have his wife and daughter, as well as his sister and some of his friends from high school attending the game Nov. 1 at Beaver Stadium.
"My thing was I was just a Maryland fan when I....I graduated high school in 1976," Edsall said. "Those guys, and really Penn State had their people, but like I said I was always just a Maryland fan because of the proximity of where we lived."
This week, Edsall named Daniel Adams (offense), Malik Jones (defense) and Tyler Burke (special teams) as scout team players of the week, while game captains for PSU are Stefon Diggs (offense), Sean Davis (defense) and P.J. Gallo (special teams).
The flag bearers will be Andrew Zeller (U.S.) and L.A. Goree (state).
The Terps will be in their White 2.0 Pride uniforms with white painted helmets, Edsall said.
Edsall said he met with the player Leadership Council on Monday as he always does, "and just said 'hey, we're into this week, we get focused. If those guys went and did things on their own [among the players], which I am sure they did, as they kinda take care of that stuff themselves."
Edsall has told the team about the all-time series mark, the state pride, but mostly just to go out and do your job and play hard this week as the Terps look to rebound from last week's drubbing at Wisconsin. He also had a guest visitor to practice Thursday morning.
"And we were blessed today to have [former Terp and BTN studio host] Shawne Merriman here," Edsall said. "He was in town, hit me up, wanted to come by, so he came by. He watched the practice, he had a good message for our guys. But again, just move on [to the next game]."
Edsall mentioned for a second week the improved play and consistency of sophomore receiver Amba Etta Tawo, who began to emerge versus Iowa three weeks ago, while continued to praise standouts like place kicker Brad Craddock and outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue for their steady and continued fast development.
Edsall said the surgeries last week to safety Denzel Conyers, quarterback Caleb Rowe, and defensive back Daniel Ezeagwu all went as expected, while tight end Andrew Isaacs will have his today.
Edsall confirmed that he would not take PSU safety Adrian Amos four years ago when he arrived from UConn, where Amos was a verbal commitment before jumping to the Nittany Lions in the wake of Edsall's departure. Amos has blossomed into a standout for the Nittany Lions.
"When I came here I said I am not going to take other recruits from there," Edsall said of the former Calvert Hall safety, who has started since his freshman year at PSU.
Wrapping it up, cozy feel notwithstanding, the stakes get higher tomorrow at State College where Maryland hopes to get its season back on track after the letdown at Wisconsin last week when all three units failed them. The 5-3 Terps remain a game shy of qualifying for the post-season, and for the Maryland fan base, there would be no sweeter win than one over PSU tomorrow. But the challenge is formidable going up against PSU's Big Ten-leading defense, and what should be another raucous home crowd on the road in the Big Ten.
Maryland sits 1-35-1 all-time in the series.
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