Edsall, Terps Bask in Afterglow

Maryland head coach Randy Edsall talked about the Terps' 20-19 victory against PSU on his weekly Sunday teleconference.

Last week, Maryland head coach Randy Edsall set a record for his shortest Sunday teleconference ever coming off the Wisconsin loss.

But Nov. 2 was a whole new ballgame as the Terps head man, football program, school and state basked in the afterglow of the Terps' dramatic 20-19 win Nov. 1 over Penn State, the school's first since 1961, first ever at State College, and only second all-time in the border-rival series.

In nudging that all-time lopsided series mark up now to 2-35-1, the Nov. 2 teleconference with beat reporters barely got to the game itself, more the attendant stories and sidebars and feel-good sub-plots in the aftermath upon the team's return bus ride home last night, also with bowl-qualifying sixth win in hand.

It won't go down as the prettiest game in the series, but few may even remember the final score years from now, only that Maryland erased years of torment (see 70-7 the last time they met), and all in their first year in the Big Ten.

The Terps, 6-3 (3-2 Big Ten), now enter their second bye week looking to heal a few final injuries for the final quarter of the season, while also set to hit the recruiting trail with new momentum that the wins over not only Penn State, but border and recruit rivals Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Virginia under their belts in the last two seasons, may afford.

The Nov. 1 game-deciding Brad Craddock field goal with 51 ticks left; the pre-game dust-up when the Terps captains refused to shake hands with the Penn State captains; the gutsy effort to hang around in the game despite an, at-times, woeful offensive day, all that got little to no mention in Edsall's Nov. 2 media pow-wow.

More so, all the well-wishers he's heard from since the win, and the impact it may have on the recruiting front in the coming years, was on Edsall's mind, who was his most effusive and chipper in a Sunday call in four years at the helm.

"It's been amazing," Edsall said. "The number of former players who have reached out congratulating us....and I am just happy for those guys as well. A couple coaches who coached here, former players, the coaches, and then again all the fans and alumni and supporters. And really for the state, it is great for the state, and I am thrilled for those guys. But I am thrilled most especially for our players."

Since the win, Edsall said he had well-wishes from, via calls or text message, former Terps quarterback greats Dick Shiner, Boomer Esiason, Frank Reich and Stan Gelbaugh, among others.

"And I just think it is great for our program, " Edsall said. "And I think it....well there might be a little bit different perception right now about Maryland's football program after that win [Nov. 1]."

And recruiting was perhaps as prominent on Edsall's mind Sunday as he set his and the staff's schedule for the bye week, which will include hitting the recruit trail starting Nov. 3, and prep games and school visits Nov. 7 and 8 before converging back on the practice field Nov. 9 as MSU game-prep begins.

"I think that is very significant," Edsall said. "Because again, when you take a look at what we have been able to accomplish with some of those bordering teams that we play, and to beat them on the field I think sends a big message. It shows the coaches and it shows the players what type of program we run and the direction our program is heading, and that they can accomplish what they want to accomplish by staying here at home. And when you beat Virginia Tech last year, you beat Virginia, West Virginia last year, and now Penn State, I think that is significant for recruiting.

"And I think that is also significant for the high school coaches that see that," Edsall added. "I just know that I have gotten a lot of messages since [Nov. 1] from coaches in this area, congratulating us and really proud of what we did and what we're doing. And I think that is very significant."

Edsall added the fact that Maryland beat Pennsylvania in the annual Big 33 High School game in June that it all contributes "to the pride that we all have. And hopefully more and more of the kids here in this area that we like will want to stay home and be a part of what we are doing."

Back to the game, at least a bit, when asked about what he found out post-game about the pre-game incident and what he said to his players about it in the Nov. 2 team meeting, Edsall said:

"Again, I apologized after the game. And again, to Penn State, their fans, the University, their team. And we just got to make sure we don't let the emotions get the best of us moving forward."

Meanwhile, he said game balls went to Andrew Zeller (offense), Andre Monroe (defense) and Brad Craddock and Michael Tart (special teams).

Among others, Terps receiver Marcus Leak (shoulder) got nicked in Saturday's contest, but Edsall seemed confident that by the Michigan State game in two weeks he may have all of his injured players back.

He said, "we came out of it well from a health standpoint. Marcus, like a lot of the guys, is sore [Nov. 2]. And a week off will help us get some guys healed up," Edsall said.

Edsall added that senor corner J.J. Johnson came out of the game okay as well, having sat out initially with a hamstring injury but then spelling Sean Davis a play. Senior linebacker Matt Robinson and long snapper Christian Carpenter, along with running back Albert Reid, were others injured heading into the game that sat, but Edsall has hinted this week they may be close to returning.

Overall, Edsall said Davis did a good job at boundary corner in his first start with "some really good things. And then there were some things where his technique on a couple plays might have been lacking just a little bit just because he hasn't been doing those things. But I thought making that move was the best thing for us and I thought he went out and did a really good job. And I thought [strong safety] Zach Dancel [who got his first start] went in and did a really good job as well."

Edsall said that Nov. 9 they will determine, based on health, if they will do anymore tinkering at the spot. He said it was only health reasons that precipitated Saturday's move, but added there are some things you can do with Davis at corner that could be advantageous, what with his skill set demonstrated Nov. 1.

Meanwhile, Edsall would not give specifics but said, like each week, he will submit contested plays to the league when asked about Yannick Ngakoue's late hit flag Nov. 1, which negated a pick-six by Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil.

Edsall said of the Nov. 1 defensive performance, which despite another patchwork lineup at times kept the Terps in the offensively-challenged game, that when they execute at a high level and run to the ball "I think we have a chance, regardless of who is out there, to be really, really good."

With a home contest versus Michigan State (after the bye) up next, followed by a road trip to the "Big House" at Michigan, and finally Rutgers at home on Senior Day to finish up, the next question is where the seemingly rejuvenated program takes the season from here, all after getting the best of their most loathed historical "rival" Nov. 1 at Beaver Stadium.

And on that Terps-PSU series going forward, Edsall finished up with Nov. 2:

"I know this: it will be a dogfight each and every year."

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