It's time again for another look at an FSU opponent: Maryland. The Terps made some major coaching changes, and we give you the scoop from a Seminole perspective like we did with Florida, Clemson and Miami.
In order, Maryland fired the popular Ralph Friedgen after he coached the Terps to their best season in many years. Then the AD Kevin Anderson raised program expectations by stating that he expects conference and national championships within the next five years. He then hired Randy Edsall, a guy who is a good coach, but doesn't appear to be an upgrade over Friedgen. To overcome firing a fan favorite, Maryland needed to make a big hire. The Terps claimed they were becoming more committed to football, meaning bigger dollars for a better coach. None of that happened. For a program that needs to increase attendance, Edsall is not the answer. He lacks personality and his teams play a very boring brand of football.
But the troubles don't end there. Maryland did decide to spend some money on an assistant coach. Unfortunately for the Terps, they hired arguably the worst offensive coordinator in the country -- Gary Crowton. And they gave him a contract for $500,000 annually. Read this humbling article on Crowton. Everything predicted by this BYU fan came true at LSU. Aside from Jeff Bowden, nobody does less with more. If history repeats itself, expect Maryland's offense to be pretty good in his first year, and then fall apart in subsequent seasons as he is quickly tuned out by the players he is failing to develop.
But that's not the worst of it. Maryland failed to retain tremendous defensive coordinator Don Brown, a player favorite. Brown has a lot of respect in coaching circles and this is a huge loss for Maryland. Brown's defense ranked 22nd nationally, while the Terps' offense was 52nd. I know for a fact that FSU's coaches respect Brown's defenses immensely. Additionally, Maryland asked Brown to stay on until the day after signing day! Yes, recruits were tricked into signing with Maryland under the belief that Brown would be there to coach them. Some day, a recruit is going to make a fraud case against a university for a stunt like this.
It's not unreasonable to argue that Maryland has downgraded at every coaching position. From a Seminole perspective, Maryland needs to do something different to hang with Florida State. Simply getting in the I-formation and running forty times per game and playing good defense won't beat the 'Noles. FSU doesn't want its conference opponents to run funky offenses and defenses because that means more prep needed in practice. It's hard enough to get kids to focus for four or five games per year. Asking them to focus on a unique scheme run by the sixth or seventh best team on the schedule, as Maryland typically is, can be tough. FSU has to be thrilled by the terrible job Kevin Anderson has done. The Terps needed to seriously upgrade their recruiting, coaching, or both. They did neither. Maryland downgraded its coaching, went to a more homogeneous scheme on both sides of the ball, isn't likely to recruit better, and alienated its fans. Edsall can coach X's & O's, but there is much more to being a head man than that. I expect Anderson's comments about winning conference and national championships to be his undoing. Maryland is set up to maintain its status quo as a consistent bowl-team, hovering within a game of 7-5 each year. That's a far cry from the AD's statements. Maintaining status quo with a PR nightmare isn't the best way to run a program.