I wanted to share some of my conversation with Maryland offensive coordinator Gary Crowton from last week’s media day. This was the only day all season that media members had a chance to speak with assistant coaches. Crowton, of course, was the head coach at Brigham Young and Louisiana Tech before spending two years as the offensive coordinator at Oregon and the last three seasons as Les Miles’s offensive coordinator at Louisiana State.
One thing that is clear is that Maryland coaches want to maintain as much of an element of surprise as possible as it heads into the season with a new coaching staff. It’s safe to say that they are succeeding in that respect.
“The offense will have its own feel and flavor to it,” Crowton said. “If we continue to push it and get to the edge of where we want to get to, I think it will be fun to be in — aggressive — and I think the players will enjoy it. At the same time, we want it to have a physicality to it that is kind of a staple to key situations.”
During games, Crowton said he will be on the field rather than up in the coaches’ box because he wants to be around his quarterbacks. He said he has a better comfort level on the field. As far as the offense, Maryland’s players have talked about playing at a faster tempo this season, and that should be fun to watch.
“We are going to have the ability to do a lot of things with tempo,” Crowton said. “Obviously, you always want a fast pace when you go two-minute. As far as the whole, it will have a variety. I’m not going to divulge any of that variety, only because it’s early and we have a new staff. I apologize for not being open right now.”
Crowton inherited last season’s ACC freshman of the year in quarterback Danny O’Brien. It didn’t take long for O’Brien to impress the coaching staff with his work ethic and mental acumen for the game.
“Danny has such a passion,” Crowton said. “It is reflected in his work ethic. He really enjoys what he’s doing. He enjoys doing the things that other people really don’t enjoy doing — staying after in the hot sun when everyone else wants to go inside for the air-conditioned room. Watching film when everyone else is tired and wants to go to bed. He does those things because he has a passion and love for the game that is very strong, so it makes it not work for him, and makes it enjoyable. When you enjoy the things you do, usually you are pretty successful at it.
“I’ve had some really good quarterbacks through the years, and I feel he has that characteristic that the really good ones have,” Crowton said. “He has a smile on his face, and the players enjoy him. I think that’s very important being a leader that the players enjoy being around you and trust you and can see your work ethic. He is in the elite group of guys that I have had.”
Overall, Crowton is pleased with his personnel, which includes a motivated but largely inexperienced batch of receivers, a promising group of running backs and some experience along the offensive line.
“I feel the personnel is going to be very competitive,” Crowton said. “They are talented. There is quickness in the receiving corps. Good hands. Tight ends can block and run vertical. They complement each other with different body types. Our running backs have power and quickness. Danny and C.J. work really well together and push themselves together. On the offensive line, there are a lot of guys who have played, guys who are prepared to play in big games.”