The raspy voice of the backup choice filled the Gossett Team House cafeteria on a recent afternoon and in that moment it felt like the Maryland football team had hired the proper mix of intensity, experience and hoarseness into its offensive line job the second time around. “It was funny,” Greg Studrawa said, then later he called it, “hectic … like anything else.”
The employment process – funny, hectic, bizarre — had played out within a week last month, when Dave DeGuglielmo arrived in College Park, spent six days there and promptly left for a gig with the New England Patriots, to be close to his ailing mother. So Coach Randy Edsall remembered Studrawa, whom everyone calls, “Stud.” He had entered the interview stage late the first time, but Edsall wanted to learn more.
Studrawa, meantime, was scheduled to interview for several other vacancies and thought the Maryland job was closed. Then assistant coach John Dunn called, said it was back open and asked if Studrawa would be interested. “Are you kidding me?” Studrawa replied. “Yeah.”
So he cancelled the other interviews. He flew to College Park, where he was drawn to the weight room, stadium and academic facilities adjacent to Gossett. He loved the idea of moving into the Big Ten, and his Midwestern ties – Studrawa graduated from Bowling Green in the late 1980s – would help with recruiting there.
“When I had the opportunity to do that, I felt like he was the best fit for what we’re doing,” Coach Randy Edsall said. “He’s very familiar with the style of offense that we run, that’s something he’s been a part of and there are things there I think he’ll be able to add to what we’re doing. For the learning curve for him coming in, it’s really not going to be much.”
Studrawa brings a certain degree of experience unfamiliar among the Maryland coaching staff. His last stop was at LSU, where he spent seven seasons coaching the offensive line and became the offensive coordinator from 2011-12. In 2011, the Tigers went 13-1, won the SEC title and reached the BCS national title game.
This January, as the longest-tenured assistant under Les Miles, the 49-year-old Studrawa was fired despite having another year remaining on his contract. On Jan. 16, Maryland announced the addition of three new assistants, including Dave DeGuglielmo. On Jan. 22, DeGuglielmo left for New England. On Jan. 25, Studrawa was hired. National Signing Day was a week away and he was thrown right into the mix, tasked with helping solidify the recruitment of local five-star Damian Prince.
“No question,” Studrawa said. “There wasn’t much time for that.. The first week you want to finish up the class and get recruiting, finish off those offensive linemen, getting in Damian’s home, seeing those guys. Sat down with every kid, met them individually, talked about where they’re from, how he is, what his goals are, what he wants to achieve, so I can get to know those guys better and coach them better.”
Studrawa inherits an offensive line that has undergone much upheaval and inconsistency since Edsall arrived. Last season, left tackle Mike Madaras left the program midseason and an injury to freshman Moise Larose caused some serious reshuffling. But the Terps return pretty much every starter from last season – center Sal Conaboy, tackles Michael Dunn and Ryan Doyle, and right guard Andre Zeller – and will work out former center Evan Mulrooney at left guard to replace De’Onte Arnett. Plus, they bring in a host of talented recruits like Prince, Derwin Gray and Larry Mazyck.
“The injuries, that takes a toll on everybody and they’ve had some bad luck with some injuries,” Studrawa said. “You look at last year, they could have easily had 10 or 11 wins with that team last year. Injuries is something you have to o be able to overcome. That goes back to me, recruiting and developing depth. That’s the key to this spring, getting these guys in there, not only finding the best five to start but finding quality backups and preparing those guys. At some point in their schedule, they’re going to be called upon at a critical time to play.”