- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Maryland has won only two games in coach Randy Edsall’s first season, including a five-game spiral to knock the Terrapins out of bowl contention.

Still, Edsall said Tuesday he is measuring advances in ways other than the way he knows disgruntled fans have evaluated the Terps this season.

“When you’re installing a program, there’s more than just wins and losses,” Edsall said. “I just feel it’s the total program that we’re installing that just has to be developed. We’re winning in a lot of areas. We’re just not winning on the field right now, but that’ll happen. I’m confident of that.”

Maryland (2-7) has three games remaining in its dismal season, starting with Saturday’s date with Notre Dame (6-3) at FedEx Field. The Terps were eliminated from bowl contention with Saturday’s 31-13 loss to Virginia, the earliest calendar date that’s occurred for Maryland since 1998.

Sunday, Edsall said he had “been through this before,” and mentioned as a frame of reference his stint as an assistant with rebuilding Boston College in the early 1990s and the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars a few seasons later and as the coach at Connecticut for its transition to major-college football.

The latter comparison in particular seemed odd, since Maryland was 9-4 a year ago and finished the season in the Top 25. Edsall clarified Tuesday that he did not intend to compare the state of the programs.

“You had a team that was [10-3], that came off going to the I-AA playoffs for the first time in school history, expectations were very high in what we were going to do that next year and there was variables there,” Edsall said of his Connecticut debut in 1999. “We lost 25 guys, really good players, and some other issues that were there and the first year didn’t go so well.”

Neither has his debut at Maryland.

The Terps are 1-7 since a season-opening defeat of Miami, with the triumph a lackluster victory over Towson, a lower-division team playing without its starting quarterback. Maryland has dealt with injuries, especially on defense, and installed new schemes upon Edsall’s arrival.

Edsall said Tuesday it was “almost inevitable” for a team in such a situation to endure some “hiccups.” Defensive tackle Joe Vellano noted the systems the Terps utilize aren’t responsible for basic breakdowns.

“You still have to come down to the fundamentals,” Vellano said. “Missed tackles on defense and dropped balls on offense take the scheme kind of out of it. Any scheme you play in, you have to do those two things. A lot of guys have to step up.”

For now, Edsall said he intends to concentrate on his team’s advances, even if they aren’t exactly easy to discern from the outside.

“What you don’t see and the fans don’t see, they only see what’s happening on Saturday,” Edsall said. “That’s what they’re going to judge us on, and it’s completely understandable. But it’s more than just that. That’s a big part of it. There’s a lot of progress being made, and I think if you talk to the young men they would tell you that.”

And where specifically is the improvement?

“I think that’s something that stays here within our family in terms of what our program is all about,” Edsall said. “I see it, and all we’re going to continue to do is be consistent with the things we want our young men to do.”

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