Category archive: Vanderbilt Commodores

Randy Edsall was not alone. Not even close.

The 2011 college football season was one of the most active ever when it came to new head coaches. A whopping 23 started the year in new places, 19 percent of all Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches. The challenge for any new coach is steep, but it can be even more daunting due to certain factors, such as the status of the program, the legendary stature of the coach one replaces or the new coach's penchant for self-destruction.

It's not easy, no matter your pedigree or where you've been hired.

"I definitely think of making sure that people that came before me here ... understand that we have a lot of respect for what they did," Bill O'Brien told Ivan Maisel as he wrapped up his first spring practice at Penn State. "There's a balance that I'm trying to find between showing respect [and] moving forward to the vision that I see [for] this program."

So, how did the 2011 class do? And what do they need to do to keep or get the programs headed in the right direction in Year 2?

Let's take a look at the top 10 biggest first-year coaches from last season, starting with Edsall, the boss at today's ESPN.com focus program. Why him? Because unfortunately for Maryland fans, our list starts with the worst of the win-loss records in 2011.

Randy Edsall, Maryland Terrapins

Record: 2-10
Grade: F
2012 needs: Um ... everything?

When Edsall, never Mr. Warm and Fuzzy, was hired to lead Maryland, it was met nationwide with a resoundingly underwhelmed, "Really?"

Taking a team that finished 9-4 and leading it to 2-10 would have been painful enough. Throw in an historic collapse against NC State -- so bad it prompted The Washington Post's John Feinstein to write "Randy Edsall should be fired -- today." -- and the public mangling of Danny O'Brien's transfer request and punctuate it with his typical ice sculpture-like personality, and ... well, it was bad.