I thought, and maybe Hickey would disagree with me here, that Indiana Hoosiers football had some flashes of quality play during their 1-11 campaign through the 2011 season. Quarterback Tre Roberson is pretty good and head coach Kevin Wilson seems to know what he’s doing (at least sort of). Things might just be on the way up in Bloomington.
And now I know for sure that it could have been a lot worse. I could have been a fan of Maryland’s football team.
The Terps went 2-10 in Randy Edsall’s first year at the helm of his “dream job.” But the truly awful football they played isn’t necessarily the biggest issue here. Sometimes teams don’t play well when new coaches come in and implement their own systems.
Turns out Randy Edsall might be the most incompetent handler of players in the history of everything. Twenty-four scholarship players have left the program in the year Edsall has been running things. A large number, but not unheard of. However, it is Edsall’s handling of incumbent starter Danny O’Brien that will drive recruits away from Maryland for years to come.
First, Edsall threw O’Brien under the bus during the season when he benched him and said he didn’t “minimize expectations” enough for O’Brien, the returning starter and reigning ACC Rookie of the Year. One can only imagine how it was behind the scenes if that quote was considered innocuous by Edsall.
Naturally, O’Brien decided to transfer from Maryland in February. He’ll be graduating and still has two years of eligibility left, so Wisconsin is an obvious destination for him. Maybe one day Brett Bielema will develop his own quarterbacks again.
However, one of the schools O’Brien looked at originally as a transfer destination was Vanderbilt, the new home of former Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin, who recruited O’Brien to Maryland in the first place and made him something of a star for one season. That move made sense on every level since O’Brien was successful in Franklin’s system as a freshman. Edsall even said he wanted “what’s best for all our players,” though he was disappointed O’Brien wasn’t “all in.”
So with O’Brien’s best interests involved, Edsall blocked him from transferring to Vanderbilt. Usually, that’s something reserved only for transfers who want to stay in the same conference or for when the coaching staff thinks another staff contacted a player before they decided to transfer. That was the case with USC receiver Jamere Holland and his desire to transfer to Florida. Most in the know seemed to think at the time that Urban Meyer’s program definitely had some kind of inappropriate contact with Holland before he put Florida on his transfer list.
Apparently, Edsall thinks James Franklin’s staff got ahold of O’Brien in a similar fashion. Either that or Randy Edsall is the biggest, most petty jerk on the planet. Unless something comes out indicating there was improper contact, it sure seems like the latter for the moment.