Friday, October 28, 2011

Edsall's rebuilding project: his image

If you are a head coach of a revenue sport at the University of Maryland and the Washington Post's sports page is running opinion pieces about your program you had better duck and cover. Just over half way through his inaugural season in College Park Randy Edsall has learned that this media market isn't like Storrs, Connecticut. The level of scrutiny in the Washington D.C. and Baltimore markets is on a whole other level. A dishonest bully like Jim Calhoun wouldn't be able to kowtow the media here into reporting stories the way he wanted and Edsall's "one voice" policy with the media isn't going to win him any friends or curb negative stories in the local media. Jason Reid's article on Edsall's "rebuilding" effort at Maryland is a pretty good summary of where Edsall and the football program stand at the moment. After the uniform fanfare to start the season it has been a series of public relations blunders for Edsall and as Reid wrote it has seemed at times the Maryland coach has been talking out both sides of his mouth regarding the status of the program. His gaffs regarding the talent level on the squad and the shape of the program he inherited from Ralph Friedgen are more maddening if you consider that Edsall's rarely says anything of value when he is being interviewed about game strategy, injuries or mostly anything else worth knowing from a fan's perspective.

Basketball head coach Mark Turgeon has done better with the learning curve in adjusting to the new level of media scrutiny in this town. He has the advantage of the blessing of the legendary coach he replaced and he has played that well but he also hasn't coached a game yet. Expectations are not high for the basketball team yet it will be worth noting how Turgeon handles embarrassing losses to rivals like Duke and the inevitable emphasis on the struggles of his depleted squad. Turgeon has a history of griping about attendance, especially in his time at Texas A&M, and he may not be thrilled with a half full Comcast Center with his team near the bottom of the ACC standings.

There are many reasons that one can point to when trying to explain the struggles of the football team this season. Injuries, tough opponents, the expected and sometimes painful adjustment to a new coaching staff are all legitimate reasons. Despite this Edsall has done himself no favors in his public statements and to this point he has failed badly in the court of fan opinion. I don't know a single Maryland fan that had Randy Edsall as his first choice to replace Ralph Friedgen yet Edsall doesn't seem to appreciate that he needs to sell himself to Maryland fans as much as he needs to sell the program. Right now few are buying either.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How is it that coming from UConn with its ongoing thumbing of its nose at the NCAA and resultant violations that Edsall is the only innocent lamb among its coaches. With a cast and crew including Calhoun, Ad Hathaway and Gino as models it is truly amazing if true.