By Jeff Barker
The Baltimore Sun
8:54 AM EST, January 17, 2012
COLLEGE PARK -- Brian Stewart, a former assistant with four NFL teams who oversaw the Dallas Cowboys' defense under Wade Phillips, has been named Maryland's new defensive coordinator.
Stewart, who spent the past two seasons as the University of Houston's defensive coordinator, will be introduced to the media during a teleconference Tuesday morning.
“I’m excited to join [Maryland coach] Randy [Edsall]’s staff,” Stewart said in a news release. “I admired what he did at UConn and saw the beginning of that transformation while I was at Syracuse. We’ve taken similar career paths as secondary coaches and then coordinators. It will be an exciting new challenge implementing our defense in the ACC, a very competitive league and one of the traditional BCS conferences.”
Said Edsall: “I’m very pleased to have Brian come on board. He is a proven defensive coordinator at both the collegiate and professional level. All of his experience will help us move forward as we look for him to implement his aggressive style. He will also be a great addition to our recruiting efforts.”
Stewart, 47, ran a 3-4 defense at Houston, which ranked 62nd in the nation in total defense. The Cougars were fourth nationally in turnover margin and sixth in tackles for loss.
Houston finished 13-1 last season. Stewart's defense worked in practice against Houston quarterback Case Keenum, who led the nation in total offense.
Houston has a new coach, Tony Levine, and Stewart announced recently that he intended to explore other opportunities.
Stewart's specialty is the secondary.
Stewart has coached defensive backs with the San Diego Chargers and Houston Texans. He was an assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009, when Asante Samuel had nine interceptions and Sheldon Brown had five. He was the Cowboys' coordinator under Phillips in 2007 and 2008.
“Brian Stewart is one of the bright defensive minds in the game today,” Phillips said in a news release. “I know that Maryland is lucky to have him. Brian will be a great addition to Coach Edsall's staff."
Maryland recently completed a negotiated buyout of former defensive coordinator Todd Bradford's contract. The Sun reported Dec. 22 that Bradford -- whose defense ranked last in the Atlantic Coast Conference, surrendering an average of 34.2 points and 457.2 yards per game in his first season -- was likely out.
Maryland's defense was plagued by injuries -- linebacker Kenny Tate and safety Matt Robinson were among those who missed large chunks of the season -- but the injuries allowed young players to gain experience.
Seventeen of the 22 defensive players on the two-deep chart are due to return.
The Terps finished 2-10 but have made recent recruiting strides. The team will also enter the 2012 season with a new offensive coordinator, Mike Locksley.
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