B1G 2014 // Smartest Guys in the Room

Brian Stewart, Defensive Coordinator, UMD - Baltimore Sun

Profiling Maryland football coaches Randy Edsall, Brian Stewart, and Mike Locksley

There was some turnover on the Maryland staff this year, but all coordinators and head coaches remained in place, giving the team some continuity for the last few years.  The most notable turnovers were the loss of Greg Gattuso, now the head coach at Albany and former defensive line coach at Maryland; Lee Hull, WRs coach replaced by Keenan McCardell; and Tom Brattan, Offensive Line coach replaced by Greg Studrawa from LSU.  I think all replacements were better for different reasons with the exception of Gattuso's, who was replaced by the DL coach from Ball State.  I'm still scratching my head but I'll withhold judgment until I see the results.

Let's get right into it.

HEAD COACH

Randy Edsall is entering his fourth year as Maryland's head coach with mostly disappointing results on the field.  He started off his career at Maryland enduring close to 12+ transfers within the first year, which a pretty astounding rate even for a new head coach.  This put off Maryland fans from the get go, and Randy delivered some gas to the fire with season one.  His first season he opened with a bang, quite literally with the introduction of the Pride uniforms in the first game, but he also won against Miami to start his career at Maryland off.  Maryland would go on to finish the rest of the season 1-9.

So naturally, more transfers ensued, putting Randy close to 25+ transfers in the first two years.  More off-season complaining from the fan base also ensued because Danny O'Brian was in that second set of transfers.  At least that turned out ok, thanks Wisconsin.  Randy finished this season off 4-8, thanks in part to the AMDQBHG, but there were also some questionable play calls and time management by Randy as well.  Randy's in game decisions with regards to timeouts and play calls in key situations was alarming after the first two years, and is only marginally improving at best.  He is better off letting his assistants run the show while he manages everything at a top level.  This is probably the biggest area of concern with Edsall overall, as he's proven that even though he is a CEO type coach, he'll go out and get the coordinators to get the job done.

Even though Edsall turned in these two duds in the first two years, the recruiting classes still remained average to slightly above average.  Edsall was pulling in higher level recruits even without success on the field, and this was the only glimmer of hope that Maryland fans could hang their hats on, other than the hope of Randy being fired of course.  2013 came, and there was continued improvement on the field, ending in a bowl loss to Marshall but a winning record nonetheless.  This led to another above average class, with Randy focusing on the offensive line and developing depth after a slew of injuries and a sudden in-season transfer led to a true freshman starting at LT who needed to redshirt and develop his frame.  Edsall brought in a five star tackle in Damian Prince, a 4 star tackle in Derwin Gray, and a slew of depth.  Many Terp fans were enamored with the renewed push on the line and are cautiously optimistic that it could lead to something good in the future.

Offensive Coordinator - Mike Locksley

Mike Locksley is a recruiting guru who fizzled out in an attempted head coaching gig at New Mexico, coming back to Maryland after a stint here in the early 2000's before moving on to Florida and Illinois (Juice Williams era).  Locksley runs a spread offense with iterations of the zone read and stretch zones.  You will see a lot of short to intermediate passes to get the ball to the playmakers and allow them to work in space.  He will at times become very confusing on offense by running multiple pro-set run plays in a row, or becoming extremely predictable on certain downs (3rd).  While the play calling is suspect at times, there is no way that he is being shown the road any time soon.  Locksley's real calling, as I referred to earlier, is being the main recruiter for Maryland in the DMV along with Edsall.  The two (mostly Locksley) combined have landed considerable talent in the past few years, slowly working their way to trying to lock up the top players in the area for the foreseeable future.  As long as he does this, Maryland will have a hard time prying him from the OC job.

Defensive Coordinator - Brian Stewart

Brian Stewart is in his third year at Maryland, coming from the University of Houston after a stint with the Cowboys as their defensive coordinator.  Stewart utilizes a one gap 3-4 scheme at Maryland, and with the plethora of linebacker depth that he has recruited it should be moving full steam ahead at this point.  Maryland has fared well under Stewart, finishing in the Top 50 in total defense in his first two years at Maryland with the #22 rushing defense in 2012 and #41 in 2013.  Almost all starters are returning on Maryland's defense, providing them with an experienced group of starters and a lot of depth behind them.

Stewart has the pedigree to coach an elite defense, ranking in the top 10 for defense while a coordinator with the Cowboys prior to becoming the fall guy for Jerry Jones after they had yet another bad season.  This group has a great upside if the secondary can develop a third corner behind starters Will Likely and Jeremiah Johnson, which could keep Maryland in games this year in the brutal stretch of the season.  Stewart has been recruiting the northern Virginia area along with Texas, using his ties as the Cowboys coordinator has Houston Cougars coordinator to his advantage.  Stewart's job is safe, as he just earned an extension after the first two years and I believe a bit of a pay raise.

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Monday: Cocktail Party Preview

Tuesday: Smartest Guy in the Room

Wednesday: Potluck Part One

Thursday: Potluck Part Two/Smoking Room

Friday: Keeping the Enemy Close

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