Edsall talks discipline and changes in College Park

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It was amusing to see this item on Deadspin get some attention this afternoon for the simple reason it dealt with Maryland football coach Randy Edsall and his myriad rules and regulations.

Just a couple hours before it was posted, Edsall launched an extended monologue on how such things as not wearing hats in a building and taking names off Maryland’s jerseys are being received and how he views such changes.

Rather than chime in with extended thoughts of minimal consequence (beyond pointing out there are far greater issues of substance that actually change the outcome of games than a name on a uniform, which isn’t an endorsement either for or against that practice but rather an observation), here’s Edsall’s unvarnished take from his session with reporters Thursday afternoon.

Q: I’m just curious about anytime you come into a new situation, you’re trying to change the culture a little bit, not that there’s anything wrong before, but do it the Randy Edsall way or the way you want things done, like no hats in the building, for example, no names on the back of the uniforms. I’m just wondering how the sort – I guess there’s a little sort of tugging and pulling to bring people along and maybe some pushing back on the part of the players. I’m wondering how all that has gone from your perspective.

Edsall: I think it’s gone great. I think a lot of people have made a mountain out of a molehill, to tell you the truth. Some people come to me and say I don’t allow chewing gum in here. That’s the first I ever heard of that, you know? I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there in terms of people wanting to write stuff and fabricate things about what’s going on.

To me, if it’s wrong to tell someone to make sure they don’t have their hat on in the building, I guess I was raised the wrong way. I guess if trying to be polite to people and treat people the way you want to be treated, if that’s a big issue now in 2012, 2011, I’m glad I grew up when I did, because it got me to a point where I think it’s allowed me to be pretty successful.

I think what people miss the boat on, I think people can have their space and be able to do certain things, but it’s just like when you’re involved with anything, there’s certain rules and regulations that every company, every organization has.

But I think what happens is, when you’re talking about young people, one of the jobs I have – some people don’t think this – but it’s to develop these young men so they can be successful because most of them aren’t going to be playing in the NFL. They’re going to have to go out and get a job. They’re going to have to learn how to interview. They’re going have to learn how to conduct themselves in a manner that’s going to allow them to get that job and be successful the rest of their life and then continue to – because the world is getting very competitive. It’s getting very competitive.

I take offense to some of the things people don’t like when there’s people who are trying to make kids better and trying to better their lives and trying to make them to get into position for them to be successful and that’s all we’ve tried to do. I can tell you, as as I know – and like I said, there’s always going to be people who want to do their own – you work with them. All of you work with those type of people. There’s always going to be a certain percentage who want to do it their way.

Well, when you’re in an organization, you can’t do it your own way. When you’re your own boss, you can do it your way. I was with Davin Meggett and Cam Chism the other night. We went up to Baltimore and spoke and Davin, he’s great. I love the kid. He even said to me, because he’s had an opportunity – and don’t go asking him this when you see him – they’ve already had the uniforms on because we had to do some shoots for what they put on the video boards and everything else. He even said to me, he would joke with me about the names on the back. He said ‘Coach, you know something?’ He says ‘When you look at the jerseys, you couldn’t put the names on the back anyhow. It’d be too small.’

Again, it’s just something I believe in. Everything to me is about Maryland. It’s not about taking the individuality out. But when you’re part of a team, there’s certain rules and regulations that you have to follow, and like I said, I think our kids are doing a great job with that and I have not heard any complaints from them. Again, you’re just trying to help them be the best they can be. That, to me, is part of my job. I know a big part of my job is we have to win games.

But, you know what? If we don’t have structure and we don’t have discipline and if we don’t have accountability, we ain’t winning very many games. I can tell you that. I’ve been around long enough to see programs and organizations that win and they win with structure, and they win with discipline and they win with accountability. And you know what? Probably 90 to 95 percent of the parents want their young men in that type of environment.

Patrick Stevens

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