Kevin Anderson

Maryland fires Randy Edsall; Mike Locksley named interim head coach

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A day after losing on the road at Ohio State, Maryland has cut ties with head coach Randy Edsall. It was reported late last week the school was about to go in a different direction with its football program but there was no definitive timeline mapped out. Apparently that day was today. Maryland also relieved outside linebackers coach Lyndon Johnson of his coaching duties and let go of Director of Football Operations Fran Foley. Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley will serve as Maryland’s interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

Edsall was hired by Maryland in the 2010-2011 coaching carousel. After leading UConn to a 70-63 record and taking the Huskies to the Fiesta Bowl in 2010, Maryland thought they made a quality hire in replacing Ralph Friedgen. Maryland went 22-34 in his four and a half seasons in College Park, which included a transition from the ACC to the Big Ten. Maryland went to two bowl games under Edsall, and lost both of them. Maryland went 6-18 in Edsall’s first two seasons and put together back-to-back 7-6 seasons the last two years. Despite that possible sign of progress, Edsall had seemed to lose the team, which was never more evident than last week when Edsall was informed of a players-only meeting that took place at least five hours before he learned about it on a conference call.

“We appreciate Randy’s tireless commitment to the University of Maryland,” Maryland AD Kevin Anderson said in a released statement. “This was a difficult decision, but ultimately this is the best course of action for our football program moving forward.”

Edsall stormed out of his postgame press conference yesterday in Columbus after being asked about shaking hands with his players before games. Accoridng to a report rom Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, Edsall is owed $3.1 million in a buyout.

Locksley coached three seasons at New Mexico, guiding the program to a 2-26 record from 2009 through 2011. Locksley was let go after four games in 2011.

Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list includes Wright, Oakman, Nkemdiche, Bosa & more

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You know we are starting to turn a page toward the next college football season when spring games are in the air and some award gets an early jump on watch list season. Today the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation got award watch list season underway with 42 players being named to the watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is awarded to a defensive player based largely on performance on the field and character.

Six players on this year’s first watch list were on the watch list for the trophy last season. Duke’s Kelby Brown, Michigan State’s Shilque Calhoun, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves, West Virginia’s Karl Joseph, Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith and Oklahoma’s Eric Striker are among the players represented. Other prominent names for the award on the watch list include Baylor’s Shawn Oakman, Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss, Ohio State’s Joey Bosa, and Arizona’s Scooby Wright III. The watch list includes a total of 37 players from power five conferences, with the Big Ten leading the way with 10 players.

2015 LOTT IMPACT TROPHY WATCH LIST

LB Kevin Anderson, Stanford

DB Dante Barnett, Kansas State

LB Joe Bolden MichiganDB

DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Minnesota

DL Joey Bosa, Ohio State

LB Kelby Brown, Duke

DL DeForest Buckner, Oregon

S Michael Caputo, Wisconsin

DE Shilque Calhoun, Michigan State

S Jeremy Cash, Duke

S Su’a Cravens, USC

LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia

CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech

DB Nate Gerry, Nebraska

DL Adam Gotsis, Georgia Tech

LB Deon Hollins, UCLA

DB Dylan Haines, Texas

CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida

DB Ryan Janvion, Wake Forest

DB Jonathan Jones, Auburn

S Karl Joseph, West Virginia

LB Bronson Kaufusi, BYU

S Derrick Kindred, TCU

DB Jordan Lomax, Iowa

DL Dean Lowry, Northwestern

LB Blake Martinez, Stanford

LB Viliami Moeakiola, Arizona State

LB Calvin Munson, San Diego State

DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

LB Jared Norris, Utah

DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor

DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State

LB Joshua Perry, Ohio State

LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama

DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State

DE Sheldon Rankins, Louisville

LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

DB Weston Steelhammer, Air Force

LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma

LB Jeremy Timpf, Army

LB Scooby Wright III, Arizona

DT Anthony Zettel, Penn State

Connor Cook serves up pick-six, but leads Spartans to late TD in first half in Rose Bowl

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As most expected, the Rose Bowl is quite the display of defense between Michigan State and Stanford. At the half of the 100th Rose Bowl Game, Stanford holds a 17-14 lead on the Spartans, thanks in part to an interception returned for a touchdown by Stanford linebacker Kevin Anderson.

Anderson took advantage of the biggest mistake fo the first half. Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook backed up in the pocket with a Stanford defender right in his face late in the first half. Perhaps trying too hard to make something happened, Cook tried to dump the football off over the defender but instead it fell in the hands of Anderson, who ran unchallenged 40 yards for the defensive touchdown.

Stanford jumped out to a 10-0 lead on Michigan State in the first quarter. Tyler Gaffney capped the game’s opening drive with a 16-yard touchdown run after bouncing to the outside after colliding with a Spartan defender head on straight ahead. Jordan Williamson added a 34-yard field goal later in the quarter for a 10-0 lead. Michigan State allowed an average of just 7.2 points in the first half of 13 games this season, including the Big Ten championship game against Ohio State.

Michigan State got things together after digging the early 10-0 hole. Jeremy Langford put the finishing touches on a 13-play drive with a short touchdown run to get the Spartans on the board and the defense continued to bring pressure on Stanford and forced the Cardinal to punt away on back-to-back drives. Late in the half Cook tossed the pick-six, but he shrugged it off and led the Spartans right back down field for a late score. This time, Cook drove the Spartans right down field and he tossed a touchdown pass to Trevon Pendleton.

Michigan State held Stanford to 168 yards of offense while racking up 229 yards when on offense. The Spartans know they could have had the lead at the half, but should feel good about what they have done so far against Stanford.

Maryland AD: I am not pursuing other opportunities (Texas)

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Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson will not be a candidate for the same position at Texas.

Anderson released a public statement Friday evening to put to rest the rumors connecting him to the Texas vacancy and to ease the Maryland fan base.

“I must confess I am humbled to be mentioned in connection with such a position but more importantly, I feel it speaks volumes to the outstanding progress we have made at the University of Maryland and to the new heights our athletic department is destined for in the future,” Anderson’s statement says.

“Let me be clear, I am not pursuing any other professional opportunities at other institutions. I am steadfast in my commitment to the University of Maryland.”

Anderson helped lead Maryland through negotiations to leave the ACC and  join the Big Ten, a realignment change that will take place next summer. The cash-strapped athletics program has had to make some sacrifices in recent years and a move to the Big Ten figures to help dig the school out of financial trouble in time. If Anderson really is staying put, the decision comes at a great time. A school preparing for a conference change needs stability in the leadership positions off the field, especially at the athletic director position. Having Anderson stay put in College Park will help Maryland focus on the process of leaving the ACC and getting started in the Big Ten.

Earlier this week Ohio State’s Gene Smith said he is staying at Ohio State. Earlier in the month Louisville’s Tom Jurich said he was not interested in the Texas job. Previous reports have suggested West Virginia AD Oliver Luck, who will be a member of the College Football Playoff’s selection committee, is the leading candidate for the job.

Helmet sticker to CSN Baltimore.