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Edsall, Holliday Talk Military Bowl, Annapolis

Dec 12, 2013 03:35PM ● By Jake Russell

Maryland head coach Randy Edsall and Marshall head coach Doc Holliday talked to the media Tuesday about the upcoming Military Bowl in Annapolis. Photo by Jake Russell.

By Jake Russell

In their Military Bowl press conference at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium Thursday afternoon, University of Maryland head coach Randy Edsall and Marshall University head coach Doc Holliday spoke to the media about preparations for the game and reflected on their successful 2013 seasons.

While it's customary, and oftentimes preferred, for teams to travel long distances for bowl games, the Terrapins (7-5) only have to travel half an hour from Byrd Stadium when they take the field in Annapolis on Friday, Dec. 27.

Edsall says his players were thrilled to find out they would be playing so close to home in the Military Bowl.

"I think it’s very special," Edsall says. "Our guys are going to be here through the holiday season and Christmas. Their families will be able to be around and be here. I think that’s something that is very, very special. The one thing you want to do is have your family here and support you and that’s going to be able to happen for, [not] all of our guys, but really for quite a majority of them because of the number of kids we have from this immediate area.”

The Thundering Herd (9-4) will be making the six and a half hour trek to Annapolis come the 27th but, like Maryland, will be spending the week in Maryland enjoying Washington, D.C. the week leading up the game.

“Our team is extremely excited to be here," Holliday says. "This bowl is within driving distance for our fans. We have a big fan base up in this area so I’m sure they’ll be excited for the game to be here. One thing I’ve learned throughout the years, whenever you’re home for Christmas it’s not normally a very good year. That being said, we’re playing right after Christmas. We’re here for Christmas so that means that’s a good thing in this business.”

Despite being away from home on Christmas, each player from both teams will still receive a special gift, in the form of a prize pack, which includes a PlayStation 4, a game and a gift certificate for Play Station's online store. That gift package generated a lot of buzz this week.

"I know all of my kids are talking about the gifts they’re getting here for this bowl," Holliday says. "I think this is the number one gift bowl in America right now. I don’t know what those daggone machines are they’re playing with but that’s all our kids talk about, those video games."

Edsall said that his players were even the envy of their friends around the nation.

“They’re getting some pretty good Christmas presents here with the Military Bowl," he says. "When they heard that, they were getting texts from their buddies at other bowl games and asked if they wanted to swap places. Our guys said ‘No, we’re not going to do that.’”

Edsall has fond memories of Annapolis and Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, dating back to his playing days with Washington Redskins legend Art Monk when both were teammates at Syracuse University. Monk set a school record by catching 14 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns against the Navy Midshipmen. on Nov. 5, 1977.

For his current players, Edsall says the atmosphere and history behind the locale is something to behold.

"Being here as a player when you walk in you just take a look around," he says. "To me it’s very, very special."

"To me it’s a neat thing. It’s an honor to be able to be in here and play because of what the Naval Academy represents. Those will be things that I’ll talk to our team about as well. To be in here and to be around what this stands for, and the Military Bowl, it’s an honor and a privilege for all of us.”

This bowl appearance, Edsall's first at Maryland, takes on a special significance given the turmoil the team has gone through the last couple of seasons.

“I just feel great for our kids," Edsall says. “It’s important for our program. This is a step in the direction that we want to go. Maybe we thought we could have gotten there a year ago but we had some injuries that kind of precluded that. It’s a big step for us and it’s a great opportunity for our kids and I’m happy for them.”