It’s only been a year, why am I talking about coaching staff changes? Well, turns out people just don’t stay put. It happens. This offseason Maryland has replaced both lines coaches with the former offensive line coach Dave Borbely moving to a non-position coach position, presumably to finish out his contract, and Mike London taking the head coaching job at Howard. That’s a little rough going from Year 1 to Year 2 considering both lines are where you’d like to see the continuity and where you usually see the biggest gains year to year.
Who are the replacements?
Tyler Bowen, OL Coach
Tyler Bowen is a former Maryland offensive lineman from the Ralph Friedgen era with the Terps, who ended his playing career and immediately moving into coaching. Bowen served as a graduate assistant with Maryland under Randy Edsall, as a graduate assistant at Penn State for a year, and then moved to Fordham as their offensive line coach. After a year stint at Fordham, their offensive coordinator left for another position and Bowen took over two years ago as their full time offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Fordham was a well oiled machine under Bowen, finishing last year 12th in rushing offense and 18th passing offense.
Why the switch? Besides the obvious issue of Maryland being one of the five worst teams in FBS last year in adjusted sack rate, Dave Borbely was easily the oldest member of the Terps coaching staff. Why is that an issue? Well, it’s not usually a problem but DJ Durkin has surrounded himself with young, energetic coaches who connect with the players and are generally above average recruiters on the trail as well. Borbely was none of those things and given the amount of time the quarterbacks spent being chased around the pocket last year it was an obvious change coming. Given the talent that’s been recruited, at least measured by recruiting services, Borbely was doing his best Brady Hoke impression with that Offensive Line.
What does Bowen bring? Well, I hit it a bit above but Bowen is a much younger coach who had success at Fordham early and is looking for his shot in the FBS world. Bowen has already immediately connected with the Terps players, who have lauded him for his innovative coaching style and is much more “technologically savvy” (aka not old) and communicates a ton with his players via text for giving advice as well as the normal position room meetings. The rushing game was stellar at Fordham under Bowen, which is all him considering he was the OL coach and OC, so there is hope that combined with Walt Bell’s offense that centers around speed and fresh running backs that the run game will excel with Bowen taking over. The most notable area for improvement would be giving up less sacks but also generating better passing down blocking in general so the QB has an attempt to make a throw, which wasn’t all that obvious that they had it last year.
Jimmy Brumbaugh, DL Coach/Co-defensive coordinator
In early January, Mike London left about three weeks to national signing day to be the head coach at Howard. To many, London leaving to take another head coaching job was not a surprise but the timing was not ideal considering he had been the lead recruiter on many recruits. Everything ended up ok there thankfully although it looked a bit bleak for a few days.
Jimmy Brumbaugh comes from Kentucky where he served in the same position, most notably coaching up former first round pick Bud Dupree. Brumbaugh has consistently improved the pass rush at Kentucky and is known for consistently finding DL at the non-FBS/FCS level to transfer in for immediate playing time. Maryland is hoping that next cycle that magic can show for Maryland as DL depth remains a concern from the Edsall era, where the position was consistently neglected.
Brumbaugh recruits the deep south very hard for DL talent, somewhere the Terps have had more focus on under DJ Durkin, who has brought in staff who have focused on Florida, Georgia, and the gulf coast in general. Brumbaugh adds to that list and should immediately make an impact on the DL, who failed to consistently generate a solid rush last year and was porous at best against the run. Line coaches don’t always show it in Year 1 as they need to get talent in their system so hopefully over the next few years we start seeing the fruits of his labor with a better pass rush and more stout run defense (low bars to clear, yay!).
Any Other Staff Changes?
In terms of hiring, not really. However, two position coaches were given raises this offseason and extended, which were fairly obvious calls since both guys are Maryland’s two best recruiters and were in the Top 11 of the Big Ten in recruiter rankings.
Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, DB Coach
The former Friendship Christian Academy (DC) head coach and former Alabama staffer came back home last year for a defensive backs coaching position with Maryland. This was a huge score for Maryland as AAR was known as one of the better recruiters in the nation and one of the top two recruiters in the DMV region. He immediately made an impact, locking down multiple four star prospects last year, most notably Anthony McFarland and Kasim Hill. Extending AAR and giving him a decent raise was a no brainer for the 5th best recruiter in the Big Ten and 20th nationally.
AAR is already hot on the trail this year, locking down the top DL in the region in DT Austin Fontaine and OG Evan Gregory. AAR has been a difference maker for the Terps in recruiting and they hope to keep him around for a long time.
Chris Beatty, WR Coach/Associate Head Coach
Beatty has been somewhat of a revelation for Maryland, who has previously had almost zero presence in the 757 (SE Virginia for you guys). Beatty didn’t just make an impact there but it has been his greatest impact, responsible for locking down a pair of imposing DL last year as well as WR Tahj Capehart. This is especially telling considering all three play for powerhouse Bishop Sullivan, who consistently churns out talent out of that region. Already this year Beatty has locked up QB Tyler DeSue and continues to go hard at others in the region as well. It’s sort of fun to watch as at least the Capehart situation has resulted in much butthurt from Virginia Tech fans, who blame head coach Justin Fuente for causing the flip in the first place. Given the Terps daunting schedule going into this season we’ll take the amusement wherever we can get it. The extension, raise, and new title was a no brainer for Durkin, who has relied on his Virginia connections as well as making in roads in Georgia to infuse the Terps with some intriguing talent.