COLLEGE PARK, Md. – On a roster filled with talented freshmen, fifth-year senior running back Trey Edmunds couldn’t help but snicker at the exorbitant amount of first-game jitters in the Maryland locker room Sept. 3 before the Howard match.
Edmunds, of course, is well past the butterfly-in-the-stomach phase, but Week One 2016 certainly had a different feel to it.
Not only was Edmunds suiting up for a new team after four years at Virginia Tech, but he was doing so at the place where his father, Ferrell Edmunds, had left his mark. On top of that, the elder Edmunds, whose bust can be viewed at the concourse of Maryland Stadium, had a prime seat along the Terps’ sideline. If that weren't enough, Ferrell Edmunds was honored on the field during halftime, making the moment even more poignant for father and son.
“I was definitely excited to go out there in a Maryland jersey, get out there again and play the game I love. And for my dad to be there, it was just a special moment, my first game at his alma mater,” said Edmunds, who grew up in Dan River, Va. “I was just glad to see him present, and I was definitely blessed for him to see it happen.”
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound bruiser didn’t disappoint with his performance, either. Serving as the backup to starter Ty Johnson, Edmunds toted the ball six times for 48 yards and a touchdown in the 52-13 victory. He also saw action on special teams, picking up a Ty Johnson blocked punt and taking it back 13 yards for his first ever scoop-and-score.
After the game, Edmunds briefly embraced his dad before congregating with him outside Gossett Team House following postgame meetings. The two were snapping photos together, making sure they’d always remember the day two generations of Edmundses united in College Park.
“My father talks about it every single day. He’s more excited than I am at times,” Trey Edmunds said of his presence at UMD. “Sometimes I have to ask myself, ‘Who’s playing, me or him?’”
The positive Edmunds family mojo wasn’t exclusive to College Park either. At the same time Maryland was routing Howard, Trey Edmunds’ two younger brothers, Terrell and Tremaine, were helping Virginia Tech knock off Liberty. Terrell Edmunds had an interception in the game, while Tremaine Edmunds recorded a fumble recovery.
“Man, I Face-timed them on the phone, and they told me about their game, and I told them about my game,” Edmunds said. “But the most important thing is we all got a win. The individual accolades, we definitely don’t overlook those since we’re brothers, but the most important thing is the win, and now we all move onto Week Two.”
For sure, the Terps have a stiffer test coming up at Florida International Sept. 9. It’s Maryland’s first road game, it’s in the Florida heat and humidity, and it’ll be played on a Friday night rather than a Saturday afternoon.
“It happens in college football. Sometimes you have Thursday night games, Saturday night, sometimes even Monday night, so you have to adapt and adjust,” said Edmunds, who noted the Terps are well rested and healthy after the Howard game. “It’s going to be tough. I’m sure it’ll be in the 80s or 90s and the humidity is going to be up there. But we’ve been practicing in the heat, and we’re used to it. We just have to minimize [mistakes] and go out there and play ball.”
The Panthers lost to Indiana during their Week One matchup, but for three quarters FIU led its Big Ten opponent.
“[FIU] has some really good guys up front and some linebackers and a safety who comes in really hard and is a good tackler,” Edmunds said. “They’re a really good team. It’s going to be a good matchup.”
Although Edmunds is running second on the depth chart, he should receive his share of carries. He said the running backs don’t really view each other as starters or backups since offensive coordinator Walt Bell has indicated he’ll be using them all throughout the course of a game.
Johnson, boasting elite speed, has earned the lead gig, but Edmunds and Kenny Goins have proven to be the most powerful backs on the roster. Thus, they should see plenty of opportunities on short-yardage and goal-line situations.
Not to mention on special teams, where Edmunds has already demonstrated his prowess.
“Trey is another guy who came here as a fifth-year transfer in the spring and was totally embraced by the team just because of how hard he works. You see how hard he plays. The thing about Trey is, sometimes his runs don’t show up in practice that they will in a game, because he runs so hard and he’s tough to bring down. There’s not many times in practice we’re actually tackling our backs, so for Trey, in a game, you really get to see all he can do,” head coach D.J. Durkin said. “And then you saw, he’s out there covering kickoffs for us, he scooped and scored on the blocked punt… he’s a big member of our team and can do a lot of things for us.”
Durkin could have -- and has -- said the same for Goins and Johnson, in addition to veteran Wes Brown.
Add to that quartet the emergence of freshmen Jake Funk and LoLo Harrison, who both scored Sept. 3, and the Terps have quite the stable of runners.
“Coach [Anthony] Tucker really emphasizes us being great collectively, as a group. Each guy has to go out there every day and try to top the guys in front of him,” Edmunds said. “He doesn’t want any drop-off from No. 1 to No. 5. He wants every guy to play similar; he expects all the guys to know the offense and do the same things. Granted, we’re not all the same type of running back, but he doesn’t expect the ability to drop off that much. So I expect these young running backs to go out there and show everybody what they have. … Maryland’s backfield is going to be nothing but great in the future.”
The future does look bright, but that’s a discussion for another day. Edmunds’ focus is on the here and the now -- and putting together more two-touchdown performances with either his mom or dad looking on.
“That’s the question of the year right there. They have some type of schedule worked out, where my mom will be at half the games [at Maryland] and half [at Virginia Tech], and my dad at the other half,” Edmunds said, laughing. “But we’re going to have somebody at all of our games representing.”
Which, regardless of outcome, should make the fall of 2016 a memorable one for sure.