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Reports: Maryland Hires Gary Crowton as Offensive Coordinator

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Surprisingly, it looks like Gary Crowton wasn't bluffing: multiple outlets (both on the LSU side) are reporting that Crowton is Maryland's new offensive coordinator.

Crowton is currently the OC at LSU; he has been a head coach at BYU and Louisiana Tech, as well as an OC at Oregon and for the Chicago Bears. He said yesterday that he was offered $500,000 at Maryland; that's more than he was making at LSU and is more than James Franklin made at Maryland.

There was some talk that Crowton wasn't going to be returning to Baton Rouge, so he might just be getting out before he gets fired. Most LSU fans seem pretty happy that he's gone and feel he was a burden on the coaching staff. Then again, LSU fans are notorious for their...uh, high expectations, so maybe you want to take that with a grain of salt.

It's tough to get a read on whether or not Crowton's a good hire. On the one hand, he has a ton of experience and has even had some success, with successful, relatively-high-octane attacks at BYU and Oregon, where he laid the groundwork for Chip Kelly. Getting to LSU is an accomplishment in and of itself, and the experience he's picked up gameplanning against the best defenses in the game will make ACC defenses look pretty terrible, which they kind of are.

On the other hand, his numbers at LSU have been disappointing. Last year, for instance, they were 86th in total offense; with the talent they have, yeah, that's a little disconcerting. And I can't remember one positive thing I've read about him from a fan of a team he coached. Oregon fans seem particularly spiteful about him. He doesn't recruit at all, and that's worrisome for a staff that looks pretty recruiter-less right now. Unless a WCAC coach is willing to take a position coach spot, Randy Edsall's staff is looking pretty bare on the recruiting front.

Then again, those complaints, too, have answers. LSU's had some god-awful QB play over the past few years, and that's forced him to adapt his normally passing-heavy attack to using mostly run. Unsurprisingly, that's resulted in some pretty bad numbers. We know that's definitely not true for Maryland, as Danny O'Brien should be one of the top 2 or 3 QBs in the ACC next year, if not the outright best. And as for recruiting, Maryland just needs one bona fide local recruiter, or at least someone willing to work on the trail, and they still have several open positions to fill it. (And hey, this gives us an in with the Mormans!)

If you couldn't tell, it's tough to come to a conclusion on Crowton. He's not a dream hire, at least not on the surface, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Just for some background: he traditionally runs a pass-heavy spread variant. It's not Air Raid, but it isn't Edsall's power running game, either. Again, he was the fore-runner to Chip Kelly at Oregon. And again, LSU didn't happen to have that personnel over the past few seasons; instead, he's been forced to adapt to a run-heavy (and more option-based) spread. That obviously won't happen at Maryland; he'll go back to his pocket-passing routes.

He seems to have a nasty case of winning with other coaches' recruits, which may not be surprising given his lack of recruiting. It's also disappointing regarding his player development, too. It should result in a pretty nice season next year, even if the resulting years aren't as concrete.

There's one thing that shouldn't be overlooked in all this: Maryland's willing to pay top-dollar for an assistant. Yeah, it may not be the right one, or at least it isn't a homerun. But it's a step in the right direction. If this is the first sign of a continued commitment towards football - perhaps including upgraded facilities and the like - then Crowton is a smaller part of the bigger picture. Be happy for that, if nothing else.