Tag:Gary Crowton
Posted on: April 12, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: April 12, 2011 11:52 am
 

Edsall: Danny O'Brien getting competition at QB

Posted by Chip Patterson

Coming into the 2010 season, the expectations were pretty low for Maryland football. They were fresh off a 2-10 season, and the touchdown-less second half in the 17-14 season-opener against Navy did not ease any concerns. But when quarterback Jamarr Robinson injured his arm and began missing snaps due to soreness, redshirt freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien took control.

O'Brien took the keys to the offense helped lead the Terps for a 6-win turnaround to 8-4, one of the best turnarounds in program history. O'Brien threw for 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns, and was named the ACC Rookie of the Year.

But a new head coach (Randy Edsall ) and new offensive coordintaor (Gary Crowton ), O'Brien's hold on on the starting job might not be as tight as many expected. Edsall made a point on Monday to compliment the play of sophomore quarterback C.J. Brown .

“C.J. Brown is putting pressure on Danny,” Edsall said today in a conference call with reporters . “I like the things that he’s doing. C.J. is a guy that does a good job in the huddle and can make plays.”

Brown was considered one of the candidates for Robinson's starting job until his season was ended by a broken collarbone against Morgan State in the second game of the season. The dual-threat quarterback only has one passing attempt and one rushing attempt in his brief collegiate career, but he has been making a statement so far in spring practice. As far as Edsall is concerned, the compeitition will only lead to good things for Maryland.

“Everybody always needs somebody pushing them, somebody behind them,” Edsall said . “I think the competition is great for everybody. You can never drink the Kool-Aid. I’m not saying anyone is, but I’m saying every day you have to go out there and prove yourself and be the best you can be. That’s all we want these guys to do.”

RELATED : Maryland may have their options open at the quarterback position, but they are already having to shuffle the depth chart due to injury. Edsall also told reporters that starting left tackle Justin Gilbert re-injured his left knee and underwent surgery on Thursday . It is the same knee that ended Gilbert's season Sept. 18 at West Virginia a year ago. Sophomore Max Garcia is expected to take over the starting spot.

Posted on: April 4, 2011 5:02 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2011 5:05 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Maryland

Posted by Chip Patterson

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Maryland , who started spring practice on Tuesday.


Maryland fell just short of a division crown in 2010, can Randy Edsall and the new coaching staff take the Terps over the top?

2010 was a season of historic turnaround for the Maryland football program. Just a year after going 2-10, the Terps finished the year 8-4 with a Top 25 ranking in the final polls. It was one of the biggest win-differentials in program, and head coach Ralph Friedgen was named the ACC Coach of the Year -- for the second time in his career.

But Friedgen was not the only one to collect hardware for Maryland in 2010. Redshirt freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien took the conference by storm, throwing for 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns on his way to earning ACC Rookie of the Year honors. O'Brien started the season as the backup quarterback, but took control of the position while replacing injured quarterback Jamarr Robinson (shoulder). He ranked third nationally among freshman in passing efficiency (135.2) and his 8 interceptions was second fewest in the ACC for quarterbacks with at least 10 touchdowns.

But even with an 8-4 finish, Military Bowl victory, and two end of the season ACC award winners, athletic director Kevin Anderson felt there needed to be a change for Maryland football. Before the bowl game, Anderson announced that Maryland would buy out Friedgen's final year of his contract (2011) and begin searching for a new head coach. Many Maryland fans criticized the timing of Friedgen's dismissal, but it hardly compared to the sting Maryland delivered to Connecticut.

Randy Edsall had just finished coaching the Connecticut Huskies against Oklahoma in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Despite the embarrassing loss, the BCS berth marked a peak in Connecticut's decade-long climb into the the top ranks of college football. When Edsall was named head coach in 1999 the Huskies were not even a Division I program, in 2010 they were Big East champions. Which is why it crushed Connecticut fans to hear that Edsall was accepting the open Maryland position the day after coaching the Huskies in the Fiesta Bowl.

So now Edsall begins another project in College Park. His new challenge from Kevin Anderson will be to guide the Terrapins "from good to great," and become an annual contender in the ACC. As the Terps have gotten spring practice underway, Edsall has instituted some new procedural regulations around the program.

When Anderson presented Edsall with his Maryland baseball cap at January's introductory press conference, the new head coach smiled for a few photos then quickly removed it from his head. Edsall believes in obeying his own team rules, and "no baseball caps" is one of them.

Almost immediately after he was hired, Edsall informed the team there would be no ball caps, do-rags, or earrings inside team facilities. If players do choose to grow facial hair, it is expected to be neatly kept and well-groomed. Players have already been spotted doing extra workouts as punishment for oversleeping or being late to team meetings.

"What we're trying to do is prepare these kids for life," Edsall said in a recent interview. "When you meet people for the first time, you make a lasting impression. We're trying to instill discipline and give them an advantage over other people when they leave college. I know what employers are looking for."

But the changes within the program at Maryland extend far beyond player conduct and appearance. Beginning this spring the 2011 Terps will not only be getting used to playing for Edsall, but also new coordinators on both sides of the ball. Offensive coordinator James Franklin left to take over as the head coach of Vanderbilt's team, and Maryland now welcomes Gary Crowton from LSU. Franklin was given a lot of credit for O'Brien's development and the offense's performance in 2010, now Crowton will be counted on to continue that development in 2011.

Luckily, Crowton welcomes back several pieces to compliment O'Brien. Perhaps most important will be returning four of the five starters from an offensive line that only allowed O'Brien to be sacked 12 times in conference play, good for 3rd in the ACC. With some questions at wide receiver, it will be even more important for the offense to win the battle at the line to give O'Brien enough time to get through his progression.

Additionally Maryland returns leading rusher Davin Meggett, who racked up 720 yards as part of a two-headed rushing attack with Da'Rel Scott. He'll be counted on to be the feature back early, though keep your eye on bruising tailback D.J. Adams. Adams led all rushers in 2010 with 11 touchdowns, padded significantly by a 4 touchdown performance in Maryland's 51-20 rout of East Carolina in the bowl game. With the offensive line and backfield mostly in place, the rushing game should serve as a strong foundation for O'Brien's second season under center.

But perhaps the biggest question mark offensively is the receiver position. There were times last season where it felt like Torrey Smith was the only receiver on the field. After 67 receptions, 1,055 yards, and 12 touchdowns in 2010, Smith is seizing the opportunity to take the one-man show to the NFL. Spring practice will be the time for Crowton to figure out who will take the place of the man responsible for nearly twice as many catches and three times as many yards as any other Maryland receiver last year. The spring depth chart lists Kevin Dorsey, Quintin McCree, and Ronnie Tyler as the top wide receivers, but some have pegged Florida transfer Adrian Coxson as a name to keep an eye on at the wideout position.

After suddenly losing their head coach, Connecticut got some kind of karmic consolation by hiring Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown to the same position with the Huskies. Now, Edsall and new coordinator Todd Bradford (Southern Mississippi) must spend spring practice figuring out who will fill the holes in a yet-to-be-determined system. Bradford ran a 4-3 base defense last season with the Golden Eagles, but has said the Terps will use multiple formations and "move a lot" next season. Don Brown's multiple-look blitzing scheme highlighted the play of linebackers Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten in 2010, and Maryland fans are hoping that Kenny Tate can be that playmaker in the fall. Tate recorded 100 tackles in his junior year at safety, and will be making the jump to linebacker this spring

. But in order to put themselves in a position to compete for an ACC Championship in 2011, they'll have to overcome a rapidly improving Atlantic Division. N.C. State is coming off their best season in years, and Clemson just reloaded with a new coaching staff and nationally ranked recruiting class. Not to mention Florida State, who has already been crowned as the team to beat in the conference for 2011. The Seminoles kept Maryland out of the ACC Championship game in 2010 with a 30-16 win in College Park. If the Terps want to move from "good to great" in 2011, the road will have to go through Tallahassee.

Click here for more Spring Practice Primers
Posted on: February 25, 2011 6:06 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 6:08 pm
 

PHOTO: New Maryland football uniforms?

Posted by Chip Patterson

There will be a lot of new looks to Maryland football in 2011.  Gone is the familar face of Ralph Friedgen, instead you will find former Connecticut head man Randy Edsall.  Offensive coordinator James Franklin is no longer in College Park, as he took the job as the new head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores.  Instead you will find Les Miles' old offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.  Athletic director Kevin Anderson made it clear he planned on moving Maryland football "to the next level," and now it appears that he may have gotten their friends at Under Armour to roll out some new gear.

What do you think about the potentially new uniforms?  Love em? Hate em? Let us know in the comment section below.   

H/T: @sbnation via @testudotimes































Posted on: February 8, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Miles: Crowton schemes were too 'elaborate'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

On paper, it's hard to imagine Maryland landing a better offensive coordinator than they did when Randy Edsall hired old colleague Gary Crowton in January. Crowton was the mastermind behind two of the nation's most explosive offenses of the past 15 years, first at Louisiana Tech and then BYU, and would go on to earn a national championship ring as the coordinator for Les Miles' 2007 LSU team. Speaking in terms of overall resume, only a handful of offensive coaches in the entire country are in Crowton's ballpark.

But if Crowton looks like a big catch for the Terps, it's without noticing the big catch on that resume: his final two years in Baton Rouge, in which his offenses -- despite a bounty of talent (quarterback arguably aside) that would be the envy of nearly any team in the country -- managed to finish dead last and 11th in the SEC in total offense, respectively. Despite Crowton's high-flying history at Tech and BYU, the Tiger passing game was particularly atrocious, finishing 97th in the nation in aerial yardage in 2009 and 107th in 2010.

What went so wrong? Speaking to the press this weekend about what he was looking for out of new coordinator hire Steve Kragthorpe, Miles may have let slip about what he saw as the problem (emphasis added):
"I just felt like [Kragthorpe] could short cut some of the elaborate thought process that was going on ," LSU coach Les Miles said. "I think the reality of it is I need a guy who needs execution. I don't want him to say, 'Boy, that's a good idea.' The 'good idea' that's not executed looks like an ugly play, OK. And so for me, I needed it to be done extremely well."
It doesn't even take much reading between the lines to see that Miles believes Crowton's philosophy got too "elaborate," that he tried to incorporate more "ideas" into the offense than his team could correctly execute.

As Chris Brown at Smart Football pointed out when Crowton was hired at Maryland , the kitchen-sink strategy was nothing new for Crowton. From a 1998 Sports Illustrated profile of record-breaking Tech quarterback Tim Rattay:
Rattay also liked Crowton, the mastermind behind what some people in football call a “global offense” for its anything-goes approach to moving the ball. As a journeyman assistant, Crowton studied under LaVell Edwards, Mike Holmgren and Tom Coughlin , among others, and at Tech he has established his reputation as a formation geek who really likes to chuck the ball. Having run out of numbers with which to label his plays, Crowton, who became head coach in 1996, turned to the heavens for inspiration. “We’ve got formations called Moon, Sun, Stars and Mars,” he says. “Something we did looked like a star, so I called it that."
Sometime between Crowton's early successes and LSU failures, Crowton crossed the line from keeping defenses off-balance with his offense's variety and keeping his own team off-balance and uncertain (a process Brown calls "subtraction by addition"), with Miles's stinging comments the final, don't-let-the-door-hit-you confirmation. That's in no way meant to suggest Crowton can't succeed and succeed in style at Maryland, but it also seems clear that to live up to his full resume's billing, he's going to have to simplify, simplify, simplify. As Miles said: at some point, putting even the best ideas to use is a bad idea.

HT: Mr. SEC


Posted on: January 21, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 12:54 pm
 

Kragthorpe's hire a bad sign for Jefferson?

Posted by Chip Patterson

Jordan Jefferson has been a polarizing figure for LSU fans during his three year career in Baton Rouge.  The Tigers offense has ranked near the bottom of the conference for the last two seasons, both with Jefferson at least taking a good portion of the snaps.  In 2010, Jefferson found himself sitting series' out while Jarrett Lee took more snaps near the middle of the season.  But Jefferson did finish strong, particularly his four touchdown performance against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.

But with offensive coordinator Gary Crowton run off to Maryland, head coach Les Miles has decided to bring in Steve Kragthorpe, formerly with Louisville and Tulsa.  Additionally, the Tigers will have touted junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger.  The former Georgia recruit will enter LSU with high expectations from a fan base that has become restless with an offense that has struggled and, some would say, cost them a shot at the SEC Championship.  

Kragthorpe will likely open competition between Jefferson and Mettenberger, perhaps even choosing to use both.  Traditionally, Kragthorpe has been known to run a pro-style offense.  Glenn Guilbeau, of the Shreveport Times, suggests that this will be an advantage for Mettenberger - a drop back, pro style quarterback.  

Mettenberger is certainly a talented quarterback with a lot of potential, his 6-5 230 pound frame is comparable to Arkansas' Ryan Mallett.  But despite the advantages of his style matching Kragthorpe's system, Jefferson should have a fair shot at the starting job.  Jefferson may have thrown 10 interceptions and only 7 touchdowns in 2010, but he did lead the Tigers to an 11-2 record and a Cotton Bowl victory.  With all the talent returning, LSU will likely be a preseason favorite in the SEC.  There is no reason to jump the gun benching Jefferson, though if he starts throwing interceptions early Tiger fans will be calling for Mettenberger.  They won't do so quietly either, LSU fans don't know "quiet."
Posted on: January 18, 2011 10:27 am
Edited on: January 18, 2011 10:56 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Bowl Edition)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Florida State is an early favorite for 2011
- After dropping back-to-back games to North Carolina State and at home to North Carolina, Florida State looked like they had not completely shaken the consistency issues that have plagued the Seminoles in the last couple of seasons. In order to have a shot at the ACC title, Florida State would need to win out the final month of their ACC schedule. Not only did first-year coach Jimbo Fisher get his team to the ACC Championship Game, but they put up an impressive performance against Virginia Tech then followed it with a convincing win over South Carolina, the champions of the SEC East.

If one of the chief concerns for the Seminoles in 2011 is replacing Christian Ponder, then fans should feel very confident in their chances with E.J. Manuel at the helm. Manuel filled in for Ponder on three different occasions near the end of the season, culminating with his Chick Fil-A Bowl performance that helped seal the 26-17 win for Florida State. Additionally, all three of Florida State's top rushers (who combined collected 1,863 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns) are all returning next season. Florida State not only looks like an early ACC favorite, but perhaps a national favorite as well heading into the 2011 season.

2. If Russell Wilson is done, he went out in style - Russell Wilson was assumed to be as good as gone by many at the conclusion of the 2010 season. The junior quarterback has already been drafted by the Colorado Rockies, is engaged, and would be able to graduate in May if he chooses to do so. But after N.C. State's 23-7 victory over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl, Wilson hinted that he may have interest in playing football professionally as well.

"I want to be a starting quarterback in the NFL one day, and I want to be a starting second baseman in Major League Baseball one day," Wilson said to reporters after the game. "No matter what, I work my butt off every day to try to be the best and that's my mindset."

The January 15 deadline to declare for the NFL draft has come and gone, and if Wilson decides he wants to rejoin the Wolfpack after participating with the Rockies in Spring Training he will still have that option. Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker did the same thing heading into the 2010 season with the Tigers. However, if Wilson decides to join the Rockies and start cashing in on his baseball career, he will wrapped up his college football career with a nearly flawless 275 yard, 2 touchdown, 0 interception performance that earned him Champs Sports Bowl MVP honors.

3. Virginia Tech can't shake the big game curse - The Hokies have been incredibly dominant in the ACC since joining the conference in 2004, but they have struggled to match that superiority with big-time wins on the national level. Virginia Tech has won the conference title four times in the last seven years, and appeared in four of the six ACC Championship Games. But against teams ranked in the top 5 nationally, the Hokies are 1-27 all-time and 1-19 during Frank Beamer's tenure in Blacksburg. Many figured that the Orange Bowl would be a chance for the Hokies to shake the stigma of failing to perform against top teams, and at halftime it looked like they might have a chance to pull the upset.

But in the second half Andrew Luck picked apart Bud Foster's defense while Stanford held Tyrod Taylor and the Virginia Tech offense scoreless while the Cardinal ran away with the 40-12 victory. However, it is important that Hokies fans don't dwell on the failures against the top 5 heading into 2011. With the kind of turnover Virginia Tech is expecting on both sides of the ball, defending their conference title will be a difficult task on its own.

4. ACC Coastal dropped the ball - This is more of a season-long lesson, but the ACC Coastal continued to be the less impressive division through the end of the bowl season. In the preseason polls, there five ACC teams in the Top 25, with four highest ranked teams (Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech, North Carolina) all coming from the Coastal Division. Not only did the balance of power appear to shift towards the Atlantic Division during the season, the bowl records from the postseason also indicate that the Atlantic may be the superior division.

Coastal teams went 1-3 during the postseason, with only North Carolina squeaking out their double overtime win over Tennessee in the Music City Bowl. The Atlantic, on the other hand, saw Florida State, Maryland, and N.C. State all pick up impressive victories in their bowl games. With the talent that Florida State and Maryland are bringing back, it would be surprising to see the media side with a new division heading into the 2011 season.

5. Ralph Friedgen left Randy Edsall a winning squad - Friedgen had an emotion al final game as Maryland's head coach, as his team bludgeoned ECU 51-20 in the Military Bowl. The players dedicated the beatdown to their head coach on his way out, capping off an impressive finish to the season that saw the Terps climb one game away from an ACC Championship Game appearance. But the time has come and gone for Ralph Friedgen fans to be upset with his dismissal from Maryland. Former Connecticut coach Randy Edsall has been hired, and the Terps are moving forward. What Friedgen did leave was a young and talented Maryland squad that will be a real threat in 2010. Edsall was a safe hire for athletic director Kevin Anderson, and the former Huskies head coach brought in some firepower with offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.

The last couple seasons have not been pleasant for Crowton, catching the blame from LSU fans for an offense that ranked near the bottom of the SEC in 2009 and 2010. But he saw his most successful season in his first year with Matt Flynn under center, and Terps fans will hope that a talented quarterback like ACC Freshman of the Year Danny O'Brien will recreate that success of the 2007 LSU offense under Crowton's direction.

Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:12 pm
 

Gary Crowton leaves LSU for Maryland

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The funny thing about Les Miles staying at LSU was that it may have been the first time in history a coach decided to stay at his current job and disappointed the fan bases of both schools.  Of course, even if there are a few LSU fans out there who aren't big fans of Miles, there's like three to four times as many who didn't like offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.

So this should make them pretty happy.




This isn't much of a shocker, as there were rumors that Crowton was on his way out on Wednesday, and Les Miles wasn't exactly emphatic about denying any changes to his coaching staff.  In fact, it's long been Miles' habit to never actually fire his assistants, but rather have them find other jobs.  So the fact that a day after reports said Crowton was going to lose his job he's announcing he's accepted the same position at Maryland isn't surprising.

So now we can all turn our attention to Crowton's replacement at LSU, and whether or not he'll be just as hated, or if he can actually mold all the offensive talent that the Tigers recruit into a competent offense.
Posted on: January 12, 2011 5:50 pm
 

Gary Crowton still at LSU ... for now

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Not that coaching at LSU doesn't come with far, far more than its fair share of interesting days, but it's safe to say this one has been more interesting than most for current -- and potentially future -- Bayou Bengal offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.

A longtime target of abuse from LSU fans upset (and understandably so) with their immensely talented team's recent finishes in the SEC in total offense -- dead last in 2009, before an improvement all the way to 11th in 2010 -- Crowton had reportedly been dismissed by head coach Les Miles this week, according to Lousiana-based reporter Glenn Guilbeau . But only hours after that report surfaced, Crowton himself went public to say that he is still a member of the LSU staff :

LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton has not been fired and for now at least, still plans on being on Les Miles’ LSU staff next season.

Crowton responded to a text message asking if he had been let go and said “No, I’ve been on a plane. Heading back to Baton Rouge right now. Have not been fired.”

He called moments later and said “I’m still a Tiger and plan on being one next year.”

Some of the confusion no doubt stems from the fact that Crowton did admit to interviewing for the Maryland offensive coordinator's position under new coach Randy Edsall, a colleague of Crowton's at Boston College in the early '90s. If Crowton was fully committed to LSU and knew LSU was fully committed to him, it's worth asking why he'd bother to pursue the Maryland job.

The obvious answer is that one side or the other isn't, in fact, all that committed. Miles didn't exactly shut the door to a staff shakeup when he said the following during a Tuesday press conference (emphasis added):
“I really don't know exactly what to tell you. I know we'll have a staff meeting on Thursday morning. I'm not ready to say that there won't be some changes on the staff . I don't know that I necessarily am going to be the factor there as opposed to other great opportunities so we'll have to see how that goes.”
Crowton's all right for today. But tomorrow promises to be just as interesting.

(Oh, and an aside about that last, wonderfully Milesian sentence in the quote immediately above: it means "Some of the staff may be hired away by other teams rather than being fired by LSU." We think.)

 
 
 
 
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