Al Golden and Randy Edsall, two self-described value-driven, process-oriented coaches with reputations for breathing life into dormant or downtrodden programs, last stood on opposing sidelines a year ago, when Golden’s Temple team beat Edsall-coached Connecticut, 30-16, in Philadelphia. Since then, each has inherited his share of adversity after accepting ACC head coaching jobs last winter.
That is where the similarities end.
In the eight months since replacing the fired Ralph Friedgen at Maryland, Edsall has confronted the loss of three scholarships because of a poor Academic Progress Rate score, the reduction of 2½ weekly practice hours because of practice-time transgressions by the previous staff and the departure of a dozen eligible scholarship players for various reasons. But the biggest flap among fans heading into preseason camp was over Edsall’s team rules — no earrings, neat facial hair, etc. — and his decision not to have players’ last names on the backs of jerseys.
“If we don’t have structure and we don’t have discipline and if we don’t have accountability, well, we ain’t winning very many games,” Edsall has said of the tenets of his coaching philosophy.
At Miami, all Golden has encountered is a scandal so noteworthy in terms of breadth and sordid details that it trumps all others this year in what has been an offseason of scandal in college football. The 42-year-old former Virginia defensive coordinator has seen his program mentioned in the same breath as a Ponzi scheme, prostitutes and the NCAA’s harshest punishment, the so-called death penalty. He has watched Sports Illustrated, for the second time in 16 years, call for the program to be abolished. And he has maintained optimism publicly.