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So The First Domino Has Fallen on Maryland's Coaching Staff. Who's Next?

Take two for Randy Shannon?
Take two for Randy Shannon?

Everyone who was begging for staff changes - which, really, was most of Maryland's fanbase, me included - got at least something earlier today, when the Terrapins and Randy Edsall announced that Mike Locksley was the team's new offensive coordinator.

It's a very large step in the right direction, particularly in recruiting. But I'd be surprised if it was the only step we saw.

After all, both Todd Bradford and Lyndon Johnson are still on the staff. I'd expect at least one (and very possibly both) to be sent packing, or at least reassigned off their current gigs.

In fact, I'd be particularly shocked if Bradford was still Maryland's defensive coordinator next year, for a few reasons. Obviously, there's the defensive performance last season, which statistically might've been the the worst in the country. I'm actually a Bradford supporter in a way (in that I don't think he was the problem with Maryland's team last year) but I'm one of the very few. Besides, he was a stop-gap hire, only getting the nod after Randy Shannon turned them down. He was never supposed to be the defensive coordinator of the future.

To top that off, Bradford was actually hired in connection with Crowton. I didn't know this until a kindly soul tweeted me after Crowton got the boot, but Bradford actually has a history with Crowton: he was the offensive coordinator (of all things) at BYU when Crowton was there as head coach. While he might've gotten picked up largely on his merits, I'd be surprised to learn that connection had nothing to do with the hire. With Crowton already gone, why keep his guy around?

The most obvious candidate for defensive coordinator is probably Randy Shannon, given that Maryland made a hard run at him last year and only lost him after it came to light that taking the job would lose him his buyout. Although I haven't seen any concrete confirmation, the consensus appears to be that the buyout is gone and Shannon is free to take another job without losing his $1.5mil, which appears to have been predicated on him not taking another job for a year.

And if it isn't, well, I guess he's willing to give it up now: Shannon already applied for the Arkansas DC spot and was mentioned in connection with the open Pitt job, too. It appears both of those wells have dried up, though; Arkansas hired Paul Haynes and Pitt hired my beloved Paul Chryst. Shannon would bring instant credibility to the staff and was always well-liked despite having a disciplinarian streak to him, which means he'd fit in well with the current staff but also perhaps stem some of the tide of player discontent.

Another obvious (though slightly less obvious) candidate is Larry Johnson Sr., the defensive line coach at Penn State. He's getting some interest for the head gig in State College, but I'd consider Tom Bradley to be more likely; either way, if they stay inside the program he'd likely be along for the ride, making this a moot point.

If they do go elsewhere, however, he'd be on the open market. He has no experience as a defensive coordinator despite Maryland and Illinois offering him that job in the past, so there's some discomfort in giving him the reins of a defense in that sense. But he'd be a fantastic addition in the recruiting realm, where he's an elite local recruiter, perhaps outdone by Locksley in D.C. but outdone by no one in the rest of Maryland. He's also well-liked up in Pennsylvania, and had Penn State in the driver's seat for Noah Spence before the Sandusky situation went down.

How good of a recruiter? Look at what he did for Penn State in 2006. With him and Locksley locking down the state and tag-teaming the elites, Maryland might finally be able to put up that mythical fence around the state. Bringing him in the staff would mean there's some question about the Xs and Os ability of both coordinators, but boy would they have some talent to work with.

There are other options, too. Greg Gattuso, the current defensive line coach, would make sense; he's never been a defensive coordinator but has been a head coach before (at Duquesne for about a decade) and Maryland needs to keep him on the staff for his recruiting and coaching abilities.

Brian Baker, the current Cowboys DL coach and a Maryland grad, would be another candidate, if he had interest. He's been an NFL position coach since 1996 and was a defensive coordinator for a year at Georgia Tech, so he does have experience there. The Maryland ties are encouraging and he has incredible potential (a Maryland alum who's still young with buckets of experience) but he's every bit as unproven as Johnson as a defensive coordinator and hasn't consistently proven himself recruiting. So I'm on the fence on that one.

Some other big names, like Vic Koenning and Everett Withers, supposedly have done deals in place (Koenning at UNC, Withers at Ohio State). Withers' is official, but I'd kill for Koenning if his gig at UNC fell through. Perhaps the biggest name of all, Mike Stoops, is also still available. I'm not sure Maryland has the dough for him or if he wants to move east after being a Midwest/Southwest lifer, but you'd have to consider him a pretty big coup if that went down.

I'd be a bit more sort of surprised to see Lyndon Johnson head out, even though I'd be delighted. He watched over what was arguably the worst special teams unit in the country, but he's a historical Edsall acolyte: he's been with Rockin' Randy since 1999 and followed him to Maryland from UConn. It doesn't seem likely that Edsall would dump one of his own like that. The best fans may be able to hope for is for him to be moved linebackers coach full-time, with Edsall hiring a new special teams guy.

Ralph Friedgen's long-time ST coach Ray Rychleski would be a dream if/when he and the rest of the coaching staff gets the boot from Indy; his special teams were extraordinary when he was in College Park, and there's a reason he found an NFL gig. If he stays in the league, perhaps someone like Darrell Wilson at Iowa would take a pay raise guaranteed for three seasons; he's one of the more underrated D.C.-area recruiters and would be a welcome addition if Johnson Sr. stayed in State College.

And of course there's still any number of position coach changes that could be made; only Brattan and Gattuso are truly safe, I'd wager. Craig Jeffries, the former Dunbar (D.C., not Baltimore) coach, followed Mike Locksley to New Mexico as a WR coach and could replace Lee Hull after the season his unit struggled through.

Other local HS coaches like DaLawn Parrish (former Wake Forest DB now at Wise) or, even better, Aazaar Abdul-Rahim (former SDSU DB now at Friendship and the coach of Eddie Goldman and Jalen Tabor) would be viable additions as secondary coaches, both in terms of coaching acumen and local recruiting impact.

I've mentioned three possible changes - defensive coordinator, special teams, and a position coach. Frankly, I'd only truly expect one to happen, probably DC, and if two occurred I'd be straight-up delighted.

It's a bit sad to be on the edge of our collective seat for coaching changes, but that's sort of where you're at after a 2-10 year.