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NCAA Football

Randy Edsall faces his biggest challenge

The news of C.J. Brown’s injury at Maryland was devastating to a football program coming off a terrible year. The view of it was even worse for head coach Randy Edsall. The result? The biggest challenge in his coaching career.

According to reports, Brown tore his ACL running a two-minute drill when breaking the pocket. He cut upfield – something he’s done in practice countless times. This time, though, he didn’t finish the play.

“To see the work that he’s put in for this season go away with one cut in a non-contact drill, a cut he’s made 1,000 times is just devastating,” Edsall said.

With Brown – the only quarterback on the roster with any game experience – gone for the year, Edsall and the Terps are at a crossroads. After a terrible first year in College Park, Edsall watched quarterback Danny O’Brien go through a lengthy and strange transfer process, ultimately leading the former Terp to Wisconsin. While O’Brien will try to become the new Russell Wilson in Badger country, Edsall must turn to a group of unproven and inexperience quarterbacks to save his program.

The names – Perry Hill, Caleb Rowe, and recent WR Devin Burns – matter much less than the challenge for Edsall: Keeping the Terps believing in themselves.

The 53-year old head coach made the jump from UConn to Maryland prior to last season in an attempt to cash-in on a tremendous performance in the Big East. He took the Huskies from small, non-conference school to Big East champs and BCS bound in the blink of an eye. A jump to the ACC – replacing Ralph Friedgen at Maryland – seemed natural for Edsall.

Of course, the season turned into a disaster. Losses piled up. Fans grumbled. The ACC moved past Maryland.

2012 was supposed to be different, though. Edsall began to recruit his own players. The Terps were poised to fly under the radar. A .500 or better season wasn’t out of the question.

Now the questions are amplified. At most schools, the quarterback matters most. That’s not the case at Maryland now. It’s all on Edsall.

“It’s disappointing for C.J.,” Edsall said to ESPN “but the excitement that we have and the kinds of practices we’ve been having the last few days, the things that are taking place, that hasn’t dampened anything. We’re disappointed and upset that this injury occurred to C.J., but the expectations, enthusiasm and excitement we have for this season hasn’t been taken away from us.”

Terps fans hope that the expectations, enthusiasm, and excitement will last through September.

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Joe Giglio is the ACC and Big East football writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.

Joe is also the host of Charm City Sports Talk on WNST.net in Baltimore and member of the Society of American Baseball Research.