The reason you know about Connecticut football -- even if you only acknowledge that it exists -- is because of Randy Edsall.
He is a proven winner. His teams are disciplined. He elevated the Huskies from an FCS program to a BCS bowl. And yet …
Edsall is the antitheses of Mike Leach. He was a safe hire. The only baggage he brings to College Park is the suitcases he’ll pack. He will win at Maryland, recruit hard and re-energize the program. Fill seats? Sell suites? Not overnight. Maybe in time, as a consistent contender for the ACC title, but this is a fickle fan base to win over, and Edsall will have to make his splash first with championships -- not his name.
After all, Maryland just hired the Big East Coach of the Year to replace the ACC Coach of the Year. It packs as much punch as, say, a Maryland win over Rutgers. But with Edsall in College Park, the Terps will beat more than just the Rutgers of the world. They’ll contend with the best teams in the ACC and challenge for the Atlantic Division.
There is a ceiling at Maryland, and Edsall is good enough to reach it. He led the Huskies to a pair of Big East titles (2007, 2010) and postseason appearances in each of the last four seasons, including the 2011 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Connecticut won eight or more wins in each of the last four seasons.
Eight wins in a better conference got Friedgen fired this year.
Edsall is going to have to surpass that on a regular basis to make this hire prove to be more than a lateral move for Maryland. He’s going to have to beat Florida State, which is already two steps ahead in recruiting under Jimbo Fisher, to get the Terps to where Anderson expects them to be -- a consistent Top 25 program.
If Edsall is able to do that, the next program that hires him will really make a splash.