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Best Edsall has 'ever been around' isn't yet in the NFL


Best Edsall has 'ever been around' isn't yet in the NFL

COLLEGE PARK -- Randy Edsall watched this preseason as former Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs, now with the Minnesota Vikings, lit the NFL preseason on fire with his electric punt returns, including a 62-yard near-touchdown in the rookie’s preseason debut against Pittsburgh.

And then he watched Diggs’ heir apparent in College Park break a 76-year-old Big Ten record with 233 punt return yards in Maryland’s Week 1 win over Richmond.

So much for dropoff.

For his efforts, Will Likely was named the Big Ten’s Special Teams Player of the Week on Tuesday.

“He’s the best I’ve ever been around,” Edsall said of Likely, “in terms of tracking the ball, having a feel for everything, and then being able to produce the way he produces.”

Likely was told of Edsall's comment later in the day on Tuesday. His response was simple.

"He's probably right," he said.

"I work hard every day trying to get better. ... Coming from him, it's probably a good thing."


In Edsall’s mind, Likely puts all the attributes of an impact returner together in a way he has not seen before. Among those attributes are courage, vision, and a skill set to understand and analyze each step of a return in the fleeting moments within which the play takes place.

And that’s before we begin to talk about the impact he makes as a cornerback.

But strictly as a returner, his efforts will change the way Maryland’s offense is able to operate, hopefully gifting them with a short field on a regular basis.

As Perry Hills settles into his starting role and front sevens get bigger going into conference play, Likely’s ability to set the offense up in an opponent’s territory may make the difference between points and no points on a given drive -- and a win or a loss.

There’s only one problem, which is a product of the monster game he had Saturday.

“I don’t know how many opportunities he might get, moving forward,” Edsall said. “I think there will probably be some things we have to work on a little bit where they punt away from him or they try to punt the ball 40 to 45 yards down field and punt it out of bounds.

“We’ll deal with that.”

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Maryland football announces plans to honor the late Jordan McNair during 2018 season

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Maryland football announces plans to honor the late Jordan McNair during 2018 season

University of Maryland football players shared their plans to honor late teammate Jordan McNair this upcoming season Monday morning in College Park. 

This is the first media availability for players granted by the university since the 19-year-old's tragic June death following an offseason workout that left McNair hospitalized due to heatstroke. 

Sophomore center Johnny Jordan and junior offensive lineman Ellis McKennie each outlined how the team will remember McNair, beginning with a moment of silence during the team’s opener Sept. 1 against Texas at FedEx Field.

Additionally, each player will rock helmet stickers with McNair's No. 79 uniform number which the team plans to retire in 2020. The offensive linemen room will also be renamed in honor of McNair. 

On Friday the university's Board of Regents announced it is taking over the in-depth look at investigations surrounding the football program. Head coach DJ Durkin is currently on paid administrative leave and strength and conditioning coach Rick Court resigned August 14. 

As speculation continues to grow, Maryland is expected to have a decision made within the next two weeks



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Tony Dungy weighs in on the alleged toxic culture within the University of Maryland football team


Tony Dungy weighs in on the alleged toxic culture within the University of Maryland football team

Tony Dungy is about as cool, calm and collected as a person can get. And when it comes to his coaching style, it's exactly the same.

Fourteen years in the NFL spent as a defensive coordinator/coach and 13 years as a head coach earned Dungy a Super Bowl Championship with the Indianapolis Colts. He posted an overall record of 148-79 with the foundation that cursing and raising your voice wasn't necessary for success. 

The culture and coaching style of the University of Maryland football team is now under a microscope with the on-going investigation regarding the death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair. The university has taken responsibility for McNair's death after an ESPN article brought to light the abuse and "toxic culture" within the team, and what ultimately led up to McNair's passing under their supervision on May 29. 

It has also brought into question how high-level football teams are coached and if it's all just a part of the football culture. On Thursday, Dungy weighed in on the matter on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies, simulcasted on NBC Sports Washington.

"Well first, I hope we don't just read into well, here was the culture, here's what the coach was doing so that's why this young man died," Dungy said.

Dungy recounted a scenario during his coaching career with the Colts where a player had an underlying condition that almost caused him to lose his life during a practice.

"You can't equate well, this happened because," Dungy went on to say. 

What Dungy does want people to understand is that the tough love, scream-in-your-face type of coaching style is not the stereotype coaches must adhere to. 

"But I do think we are a victim of caricatures. That we think that's the way it has to be."

"One of the last interviews I had before I got my head [coaching] job in Tampa, I was explaining to this owner how I was going to do things. He had heard about my reputation. He said 'I know you don't use profanity. You rarely raise your voice. How are you going to motivate these guys? How are you going to discipline? How are you going to keep guys in line?' And I said the same way my father kept me in line. By saying here's the rules and here's what we're going to do. I'm going to be like that with my players. And the guy looked at me square in the eyes and said 'impossible, that will never work in the NFL.'" 

Well, it did work for Dungy as his tenure spent as a coach in the NFL earned him enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. 

Dungy noted in his interview with the Sports Junkies that the different personalities of coaches in the league highlighted in shows like HBO's Hard Knocks do not represent each and every coach. He mentions Jim Caldwell and Bill Belichick as successful coaches who are more mild-mannered like Dungy.

"And there's a thousand ways that work," Dungy said about coaching. "And you got to be true to your personality and everything. But the two coaches that I played for in the NFL – who won seven Super Bowls between them and were tremendous coaches, Hall of Famers – there was none of that. There was instruction, teaching, motivating, building you up and getting you ready to play, and so that's what I followed."