Crowton, who is Mormon, is often found on the practice field wearing shorts, a T-shirt and cap, and holding a play list in an extended hand. He shouts sometimes, but doesn't swear.

"Now I know a lot of Mormons who swear. I try not to. It's kind of how I was raised," said Crowton, whose Mormon mission took him to South Korea. He still speaks a little of the language.

Crowton "is much more relaxed [than Franklin], I would say," said Maryland backup quarterback C.J. Brown. "He's very attentive to detail, a big-picture guy. But he still likes the intensity."

Said Estes: "Gary is a patient person, but he's a very competitive person. He has a lot of innovation in him. When I first met Gary, he had the Wacky Wildcat [so named because of the New Hampshire Wildcats] where you'd have a center and two guards, and the tackles would go split. He just came up with things you didn't see. You ever see the Muddle Huddle? It's things like that."

Said Meggett: "He always has something cool up his sleeve."

Edsall became acquainted with Crowton when both were Boston College assistants under Tom Coughlin in the early '90s. Edsall has revealed few specifics about Maryland's offense in advance of the Sept. 5 opener against Miami at Byrd Stadium.

In the interview, Crowton began several sentences by saying he needed to be careful not to reveal too much.

But he did drop a hint about his preferences. Asked which of his teams best represented his philosophy, Crowton selected his first BYU team that led the nation in total offense (542.9 yards per game) and scoring (46.8 points per game) in 2001.

Crowton had arrived at BYU with a reputation built largely on passing out of a spread offense. But the Cougars were balanced in 2001, rushing 505 times and passing 486. Running back Luke Staley rushed for 1,596 yards, quarterback Brandon Doman passed for 3,542 yards, and the team finished 12-2.

"Without giving away much of what we're doing," Crowton said, "that 2001 offense at BYU — that's me."

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