New UMd. Football Coach Hopes to Take Program 'From Good to Great'
The team, which opens its season Sept. 5, is hosting Fan Appreciation Day Saturday morning on the school's campus.
As University of Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien sat, addressing members of the media during the Terrapins’ Media Day press conference Tuesday afternoon, his excitement and optimism for the season were evident.
“Our goal is to win the ACC championship,” O’Brien said. “Anything short of that and we’re not hitting our potential. But, yeah, as a team, we’re very excited, and very hungry, for the season.”
After the season, though, long-tenured head coach Ralph Friedgen was fired and replaced by former University of Connecticut coach Randy Edsall. At the time, Terrapins athletic director explained that he believed Edsall’s hire could help take Maryland’s football program “from good to great,” something which Edsall believes he has the capability to start doing as soon as this season.
“I think the ACC is a very good league," Edsall said. “If you don't come ready to play, and don't play a good game, you've got the opportunity to get beat. I like where we are and what I have to work with, though, and I firmly believe, and I know this in my heart, that we can be at the top of the league."
Although they are forced to replace star wide receiver Torrey Smith, Maryland returns 12 starters from last year’s team, including senior linebacker Kenny Tate, widely viewed as one of the top defensive players in the entire country. Standout defensive tackle Joe Vellano also returns. Vellano’s father, Paul, played for the Terrapins in the early 1970s.
Yet, even despite the returning talent, Maryland isn’t getting much respect from the national media. At the ACC Football Kickoff in late July, the Terrapins were projected by the voting media to finish fifth (out of six teams) in the ACC's Atlantic Division.
Needless to say, Edsall wasn’t a big fan of the projection and is eager for the opportunity to prove voters wrong this season.
“It just gives us a little bit more incentive to go out and prove people wrong,” Edsall said. “I know what we have and know what we can do. Our players know what we have and know what we can do. The only way we can prove anyone wrong, though, is by going out there on the field and taking care of business."
The Terrapins open their season against the University of Miami Sept. 5. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN. Including the Miami game, each of Maryland’s first four games are at home on the University of Maryland campus.
Here’s a full rundown of Maryland’s schedule:
*Bold indicates home game
9/17 West Virginia
10/8 Georgia Tech
10/22 Florida State
10/29 Boston College
11/12 Notre Dame
11/19 Wake Forest
11/26 North Carolina State
NOTE: Maryland’s football team will be hosting Fan Appreciation Day Saturday morning in Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium on the school’s campus. Fans will be given the opportunity to watch the team practice from 8:15 to 10:30 a.m., and then meet and gather autographs from players. Fore more information, click here.