Maryland is now in the Big Ten, in case you missed the realignment changes that took place this week. With a new conference home, Maryland head coach Randy Edsall is making it clear Maryland is ready to make a name for the program and stand on its own two (four?) legs.
“We’re not going to be Ohio State, we’re not going to be Michigan and we’re not going to be Penn State or Michigan State,” Edsall said in an interview with Cleveland.com. “We’re going to be Maryland. We’re going to do the things that we feel are unique to be able to help us compete and win against those teams we’re going to be playing.”
Since Edsall left UConn to coach at Maryland three years ago, the Terps have been all about creating and embracing its own unique identity. One of the first ways Matyland did that was by introducing the now infamous state pride uniforms in Edsall’s first game under Edsall. Edsall’s logic here was restoring the pride in being a part of Maryland and playing for the school and the state. Since breaking out those hideous state pride uniforms though, Maryland has stuck to that formula and the look today is much more respectable than it was initially drawn up. But Edsall still needs to build on that pride and get Maryland to a point where it can compete in what could potentially be a loaded Big Ten East Division with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State along with Indiana and fellow newcomer Rutgers.
“Our program has been building over the last three years, going into our fourth year, and we have as much experience and depth as we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Edsall said later in the same interview. “And we just have to continue building and upgrade and getting better in terms of our recruiting and keep attracting outstanding student athletes that meet the criteria that we have here. Then what we have to do is coach them up and make them better than what they are.”
Edsall understands the challenges that lay ahead for Maryland, but he has a vision and a plan of attack. Edsall’s five-year plan sees Maryland playing in a Big Ten championship game. It could take time before Maryland is much of a threat to the rest of the division, but if Edsall continues to build and keeps his team buying into the process, the future could be bright for the program.
If you trust Edsall, that is.