Thanks to the success of the Ralph Friedgen era, Maryland’s new head coach will have to be a cut above, and continue to take Terrapin football to new heights. Any coach with equal or lesser success then what we’ve experienced the last 10 years will be unacceptable. The search committees that were commissioned by the new administration have worked diligently to come up with a serviceable list of candidates, and now it’s up to AD Kevin Anderson, his assistant Randy Eaton, and University President Wallah Loh to make the right hire.
The rumors surrounding the vacant job, as wild as many have seemed, have spiked the curiosity of many college football fans around the country, and the attention College Park has received has flattered to say the least. The names mentioned have been intriguing, but there is a real fear among the fan base that we won’t get the right guy. If Anderson’s promise of an “exciting” new coach who will “stimulate the fan base” is not kept, he will soon draw the ire of Terrapin Nation. The official list of candidates is very hush, but many are speculating that UConn’s Randy Edsall, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, and until yesterday SMU’s June Jones are/were the top three choices by the University. Fan favorite Mike Leach doesn’t seem as much of a reality as first thought, and Terp fans are greatly dismayed. According to Keith Cavanaugh of TerrapinTimes.com, the final three candidates are being interviewed right now, and our new coach could be named in the next week.
I’ve ranked MY top three choices for the job:
1. Mike Leach (Former HC at Texas Tech)
He would get this place excited and sell tickets right away. Plus his offense is like nothing else in the ACC right now, and it reminds me of the old adage in football that goes something like, “If you don’t have the best players, do something that nobody else is doing and do it well.” It’s why Paul Johnson has had success with the double-wing offense at Georgia Tech, and why Leach had so much success in a brutal conference like the Big XII, despite having only 2 and 3 star talent.
2. Gus Malzahn (Current OC at Auburn)
Hands down the best OC in the country. He is such a great play caller, and his offensive game plan so precise that while he was at Arkansas, he made them look like a good SEC. More impressive was that he did that with a true frosh QB and a true frosh WR in the passing game, and a moron for a HC in Houston Nutt. Yes he had 2 stud running backs, but how many teams win in the SEC with a true frosh QB? This year, he’s turned Auburn’s offense into an elite group, and the Tigers are playing for the National Championship.
3. Don Brown (Current DC at Maryland)
Why is this man not getting more support for the job? He was an amazing D1-AA head coach, and he reached the National Championship game on two occasions. He runs the most exciting defense in the country, and kids want to play for him. Everyone talks about James Franklin’s recruiting prowess at Maryland for good reason, but Brown is every bit the recruiter Franklin is, and he has the track record to prove it.
4. Kevin Sumlin
Much like Leach, he runs a great offense, and it’s nothing like anything being run in the ACC right now. Big downside is that he isn’t an East Coast guy, and recruiting would be a question.
5. Randy Edsall
Great hire if the Terps were a team down in the dumps and needed someone to come in and clean things up. Maryland is not that team. Danny O’Brien is a QB with plenty of weapons surrounding him, and this team is ready to take the next step.