Maryland is expected to fill its defensive coordinator vacancy with Brian Stewart, who held the same position at the University of Houston the past two seasons, according to three individuals familiar with the move.
A deal had not yet been signed as of Monday morning, the individuals said, but the hire is expected to occur barring an unforeseen turn of events. Maryland is expected to make a formal announcement this week.
While pass-happy Houston was known mostly for its offensive exploits under Coach Kevin Sumlin (now at Texas A&M), Stewart helped the defense rank 35th nationally in scoring defense this past season.
Stewart, 47, employed a 3-4 defense at Houston, which also ranked 62nd in total defense (380.3 yards per game), 40th in pass defense (208.7 yards per game) and 80th in run defense (171.6 yards per game).
This past season, Houston ranked second in the nation in red-zone defense (67.4 percent) and second in tackles for loss (108). The Cougars tied for 10th in the nation in total takeaways (31).
Stewart would inherit a defense at Maryland that struggled mightily during an injury-plagued first season under first-year coordinator Todd Bradford. Maryland announced last week that Bradford, who had held the same position the previous three seasons at Southern Mississippi, agreed to a negotiated buyout of the remaining two years on his contract.
The Terrapins, who finished 2-10 overall, ranked 110th in rushing defense, 108th in total defense and 103rd in scoring defense. But they will return a number of key performers next season, most notably second-team all-American defensive lineman Joe Vellano.
The Terrapins will also welcome back a number of players returning from injuries, including linebacker Kenny Tate, safety Matt Robinson and defensive linemen Justin Anderson and Isaiah Ross.
Like Maryland Coach Randy Edsall, Stewart has had experience in the NFL. Prior to working at Houston, Stewart spent eight years in the NFL. Stewart spent two of those years (2007-2008) as the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive coordinator. He specialized in coaching the secondary. The Cowboys led the NFL in sacks (59) in 2008 and ranked third in sacks in 2007.
Originally from San Diego, Stewart played cornerback and free safety at Northern Arizona and Santa Monica City College.
The Terrapins will enter the 2012 season with two new coordinators because they also replaced offensive coordinator Gary Crowton with Mike Locksley during the offseason.