Maryland football assistant coach Pete Lembo, who was among DJ Durkin’s first hires in College Park but was demoted from his position as special teams coordinator earlier this offseason, is no longer with the program, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Lembo, whose official title at Maryland was changed to assistant head coach and tight ends coach in January, is headed to Rice to coach special teams and serve as an associate head coach, according to a report by Bruce Feldman on SI.com.
On Thursday, Durkin rounded out his staff with Dave Bucar, who will replace Lembo as tight ends coach, and former Maryland wide receiver Jafar Williams, who will oversee the running backs.
Bucar served last season as an offensive analyst at LSU under Matt Canada, who was hired as Maryland’s offensive coordinator in January after Walt Bell left for Florida State. Bucar also worked as a graduate assistant at Pittsburgh when Canada was offensive coordinator there in 2016.
That familiarity should bode well for Maryland’s tight ends, who have produced just five catches over the past two seasons. No Maryland tight end caught a pass during the team’s 4-8 finish in 2017, partly a byproduct of Bell’s up-tempo scheme, which used the tight ends as run-first blockers. Canada runs more of a pro-style system, but he’s expected to tailor his offense around the personnel Maryland has.
The Terrapins have one of the best returning running back tandems in the Big Ten with senior Ty Johnson and junior Lorenzo Harrison, who will now work under Williams.
A 2003 graduate of Maryland, Williams replaces Anthony Tucker, who left for Central Florida — and he brings plenty of versatility and ties to the Big Ten. Williams spent the past two seasons as a wide receivers coach at Rutgers. Before that, he coached running backs at Purdue from 2013 to 2015; he helped groom Akeem Hunt, a reserve running back and special teamer with the Kansas City Chiefs. A Philadelphia native, Williams is also expected to help bolster Maryland’s recruiting efforts in New Jersey, a territory that Durkin and his staff continue to target despite pouring much of their focus into the Washington area and Florida.
“I’m excited to welcome Jafar and Dave to our program,” Durkin said in a statement. “Jafar is a Terp and has a real passion for Maryland. He’s done an outstanding job developing players at each of his coaching stops. Dave has worked with Coach Canada at both LSU and Pitt. He has a strong football mind, and our players will benefit with Dave on staff.”
Lembo’s special teams duties were taken over by linebackers coach Matt Barnes in January. Durkin also shook up his staff with the hire of former Marshall defensive coordinator Chuck Heater, who occupies the team’s newly created 10th coaching position that was approved by the NCAA late last year. Durkin also hired former Virginia Tech and James Madison assistant Bryan Stinespring to coach the offensive line, a position that had been vacant since Tyler Bowen left to take a job on Penn State’s staff in December.
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