COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Before Randy Edsall can build the Maryland football program into an Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouse, the Terrapins’ new head coach must first improve the team’s academic situation.
Edsall was hired in January to replace the fired Ralph Friedgen.
Soon after assuming the post, the former Connecticut coach quickly realized he had plenty of work to do before holding his first spring practice.
“I was a little bit shocked about what I saw from an academic standpoint when I got in here,” Edsall said Friday. “Some of these academic issues were very disturbing.”
Edsall said several players could be rendered ineligible if they don’t lift their grades this semester, and his decision to switch the positions of two players was influenced by a potential shortcoming at two important skill positions.
Edsall moved freshman Jeremiah Wilson from defensive back to running back and shifted freshman quarterback Devin Burns to wide receiver.
“At running back … we do have some people there that aren’t where I want them to be from an academic standpoint,” Edsall said.
Burns was happy to move from quarterback because the Terrapins already have three solid players at that position: Danny O’Brien, Jamarr Robinson and C.J. Brown.
Now Burns is part of a wide receiving corps that lost Torrey Smith, Adrian Cannon and LaQuan Williams. Plus, as Edsall pointed out, “We’ve got some young men that didn’t play in a bowl game because of academic issues. I’ve been addressing that very hard.”
Receivers Quinton McCree and Ronnie Tyler were deemed academically ineligible before the Military Bowl.
Asked whether he would bar players with academic issues from spring practice, Edsall replied, “I’m not holding anybody out. That’s not my doing. People dismiss themselves. I set the standards and they’ve got to live up to the standards.”
Edsall said the school is in the process of hiring an administrator to help the players get their grades up. But he
acknowledged that monitoring report cards is part of his job description.
“I’m the academic liaison,” Edsall said. “I see things starting to head in the right direction. The young men understand
how important that is to me in terms of what I want to see done in the classroom.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)