National Columnist

Edsall, Weis: Staying on down low, and going lower


Honestly, I don't know why it matters anymore. Football coaches are floozies? We knew that. John L. Smith can't finish the 2002 GMAC Bowl before his Louisville players learn -- on the sideline, during a blowout loss to Marshall -- that he's leaving for Michigan State. Bobby Petrino does him one better, fleeing the Falcons during the 2007 season for Arkansas. Nick Saban isn't coaching Alabama, unless he is. Urban Meyer is resigning from Florida, unless he isn't.

Skanks or liars, lots of them. So why am I so irritated by the skankery of Charlie Weis and Randy Edsall?

Dennis Dodd Dennis Dodd
If Maryland is trying to sell tickets or create buzz, hiring Edsall does neither. Read More>>
Related Links

Because I am. Because there's a right way and a wrong way to switch jobs, and football coaches go wrong every chance they get. Weis and Edsall are two more logs on the fire of coaching hypocrites, two more pieces of driftwood floating from one job to the next without regard for timing or loyalty. Without regard for decency. Without regard for anyone or anything but themselves, an ironic concept in a world where coaches demand loyalty from everyone under their thumb but show loyalty in return only when there isn't a better option available.

Weis decided he had a better option available. So did Edsall. Maybe you're going to tell me that neither Weis nor Edsall behaved badly. Fine. But tell me something else: If they weren't behaving badly, how come they were sneaking around?

Weis is the Chiefs' offensive coordinator who took that job at Florida without telling his boss at Kansas City -- which had qualified for the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Days before the Chiefs finished the regular season Sunday against Oakland, it leaked that Weis was headed to Florida. Chiefs coach Todd Haley had no idea. His players didn't know, either. Then came Sunday, when the Chiefs got their minds right for the playoffs by being blown away at home.

No, you can't blame that 31-10 loss entirely on the distraction caused by Weis. But you can do this. You can look at Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, who played his worst game of the season (11 of 33, 115 yards, two interceptions, 19.1 passer rating). Before Sunday Cassel had been an honors candidate, with 27 touchdowns and five interceptions. What changed Sunday? Not much. Only the news that his offensive coordinator had been flirting with, and accepted a proposal from, another team. Cause and effect? That's what I see.

I see something even more befuddling with Edsall, the Connecticut coach who was flirting with Maryland even as his UConn team was preparing for the first BCS bowl game in program history. And then not one full day after the Fiesta Bowl -- literally, 18 hours later -- Edsall was on campus at Maryland, "interviewing" for a job, being offered it, and accepting. How is that possible? Well, he skipped the UConn charter flight home, for one thing. Didn't tell his players why. Didn't even tell them goodbye. Just sort of ... left.

Well, not really. Edsall didn't only go. First he made UConn junior tailback Jordan Todman, who had privately told Edsall of his decision to enter the 2011 NFL Draft, stand before the entire team and announce he was leaving. Edsall doesn't have much in the way of decency or accountability, but my god does the man have some gall.

Weis and Edsall epitomize what is wrong with the football coaching profession. (AP)  
Weis and Edsall epitomize what is wrong with the football coaching profession. (AP)  
Here is where I back off for a minute and explore the other side of the Randy Edsall equation. To be fair, Edsall has an agent -- and one role of an agent is to field inquiries from future employers while the client works for his present employer. So it's possible Edsall didn't spend a second of his valuable pregame preparation and focus, didn't give any energy whatsoever, to the possibility of leaving Connecticut for Maryland.

Hours after the bowl ended in Arizona, Edsall was 2,300 miles away in College Park, Md. So was his family. The job was his. So in this alternate universe where we here at strive to be fair to any and all football floozies, the theory is this: After 12 years at UConn, where he built a BCS-level program from scratch, Edsall analyzed that 48-20 loss to Oklahoma and saw that his star running back had decided to skip his senior season for the NFL Draft and rushed -- unprepared, almost ignorantly, considering he hadn't given a second of thought to Maryland -- into the arms of a basketball school in a second-tier BCS conference.

All in 18 hours.

There. I was fair to Edsall. I feel better now.

No, I don't. I'm tired of football folks -- the coaches, and the teams that hire them -- pretending they're something that they're not. What are they not? Honorable.

Not only was Maryland plotting to hire UConn's coach in the hours leading up to the biggest game in UConn history, but Maryland already had shamed itself by reneging on the return of Ralph Friedgen. The school announced Nov. 18 that he would be back in 2011, and this wasn't one of those lame "vote of confidence" deals that never seem to mean anything. It was an official school press release, still available on the athletic department's website, that "Coach Friedgen will be our head football coach next year."

A month later, Maryland fired him.

And then, on the day Friedgen was finishing out his 10-year tenure at the Military Bowl -- and beating East Carolina, I may add, 51-20 -- Maryland was showing his presumed replacement, Mike Leach, around campus.

On the same day.

No class at all. So really, this is perfect. Maryland deserves Randy Edsall. And Edsall deserves Maryland. May they have a long and fruitful relationship in their half-empty stadium.

As for Weis and Florida, well, the Gators just hired an unlikeable, unhealthy, all-about-me offensive coordinator who failed stupendously in his only other college experience and who just sandbagged one team to join another. Job well done.

Gregg Doyel is a columnist for He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.

Biggest Stories

CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
Conversation powered by Livefyre


Most Popular