Baltimore Sun reporters Jeff Barker and Don Markus and editor Matt Bracken weigh in on the three biggest topics of the past week in
In an interview with The Sun, Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson defended his hiring of
Jeff Barker: I think Anderson knew there would be a learning curve in the first year. If he had to do it again, he clearly wouldn't have made the statement that
Don Markus: Having been a critic of Anderson's since he hired Randy Edsall, I came away with a little more understanding of the decision to go with Edsall rather than Mike Leach. Anderson's belief in the philosophy of Jim Collins, the author of "Good to Great," explained why he would rather go for someone with Edsall's track record rather than Leach. I still think that recovering from last year's 2-10 record is going to be difficult for Edsall when it comes to winning back what can only be described as a fickle (or frontrunning) Maryland fan base, and so I think it's going to be tough on Anderson as well. But I respect the fact that he stands by his man. Some ADs I have known over the years might be trying to push Edsall out.
Matt Bracken: I found it interesting that Anderson cited Maryland's recruiting triumphs in the 2012 class as support for Edsall and the program's direction. "The high school coaches around here have received him (Edsall) very well and a young man like (Stefon) Diggs and some of these other people, if their parents and these kids thought he wasn't a good coach or a good person, they had a lot of other options," Anderson said. Edsall has been a lot more visible locally than
Michigan transfer Evan Smotrycz committed to the Terps on Monday. The 6-foot-9 power forward will redshirt this season and have two years of eligibility left starting in 2013-14. What can we expect from Smotrycz?
Jeff Barker: After months of getting double-teamed (remember those
Don Markus: Smotrycz'sinterest in Maryland is interesting, considering that he wasn't exactly warming the bench for the Wolverines. I realize that his playing time might have dwindled with the arrival of Mitch McGary in Ann Arbor, but he's coming to a pretty crowded frontcourt with the Terps as well. I think a lot of Smotrycz's playing time a year from now will depend on the development of freshmen Shaquille Cleare and Jake Layman. Smotrycz is a bigger, stronger version of Layman, but if Layman puts on muscle his first year in College Park they might essentially be the same player -- a face-up power forward. If Layman remains more of a small forward, then it makes perfect sense and it will be a matter of finding a rotation that could also include Alex Len if he's still at Maryland by that point.
Matt Bracken: The only basketball program I watch more than Maryland is Michigan. I was born and raised (by two Michigan alums) in The Mitten and graduated from U-M in 2005. So over the past two years, I've probably seen 90 percent of Smotrycz's games with the Wolverines. I think we can all admit that diehard college sports fans are notoriously fickle, so the reaction to Smotrycz's depature from a Michigan perspective was decidedly mixed. Some said good riddance and claimed he'd be passed by players in a Top 10 incoming class. Some said it was a significant loss and he would've played a bigger role for the Wolverines going forward. Count me among those in the latter camp. Without question, Smotrycz needs to get tougher defensively and continue improving as a rebonder (although 4.4 per game in 21 minutes isn't too shabby). But he's a talented offensive player and an excellent 3-point shooter. He's also probably a better fit in the
Spring football comes to a close Saturday with the annual Red-White game at Byrd Stadium. What have we learned about this Terps team this spring?
Jeff Barker: Running back Brandon Ross runs really hard, cornerback Dexter McDougle could be ready for a solid season and may also return punts. But there's much we don't know. I think so much depends this season on the newly configured offensive line that saw its starting tackles transfer. How well will the new line -- which will probably feature some guys playing in new spots -- mesh? Quarterback
Don Markus: I think it's difficult to gauge anything from spring football for any team. I haven't been around the Terps this spring, but I hear that the mood is a lot better than it was a year ago in that the players who stayed know what to expect and there's a lot less complaining about Edsall than there was last spring. How much talent remains will become pretty evident in the first month of the regular season, but for now I think the play of running backs Brandon Ross and Justin Pickett has been the most pleasant surprise and should be interesting to watch when Wes Brown and Albert Reid show up for the summer workouts. I also hear the defense under Brian Stewart looks a lot better than it did under Todd Bradford -- could it look any worse? -- and it's going to look more like Edsall's teams at Connecticut in terms of playing grind-it-out football, winning with a strong running game and defense.