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Surprise: Maryland Defensive Coordinator Don Brown to...UConn?

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Here's a complete shocker: Don Brown, Maryland's defensive coordinator, looks like he's leaving...for another DC job...at UConn.

Yeah, you read that right, a Connecticut paper is reporting that Brown will become Paul Pasqualoni's DC up at UConn, which is incidentally the place from where Maryland just hired their head coach, Randy Edsall. (That's a fair measure of irony.) Both the Washington Post and IMS are confirming it, which means it's as good as done.

First reaction: massive dagger. First off, Brown was a fantastic DC and a stellar recruiter, as he was a huge part of A.J. Hendy's recommitment and, really, almost every other defensive recruit, too. He was well-liked and well-respected; many people considered his retention to be as important as the head coaching hire. And, for some time, it looked like he was staying.

Not only is the fact that he's leaving somewhat bitter: he's going to UConn, which isn't even an upgrade. In fact, it might be a downgrade. Either he and Edsall couldn't get along or UConn just broke the bank on the DC hire; either way, it stings. Most would be okay if he was hired as a DC at a big name school, because it's a natural upgrade, but taking a lateral move (at best) hurts. There might be something else going on behind the scenes that may explain it, but until we hear it, it's a head-scratcher and a disappointment.

There are two things that need to be addressed from here: who does Maryland hire in his place, and what happens to the dozens of recruits who signed with Maryland because of Brown? Let's start with the second: imagine the credibility hit Edsall would take if, say, Hendy wanted out and he wouldn't sign off on the LOI. If he's willing to let people off the hook, I wouldn't be surprised to see a late decommitment or two.

As for the other matter: Maryland has no one DC-quality on the current staff. Al Seamonson wouldn't have been a bad upgrade, but he's gone now. Todd Bradford, the current LB coach, was a DC at his last stint at Southern Miss, but they had one of the worst defenses in the country against average competition. Considering how much Brown meant to this team, this isn't a hire you can half-ass: the staff not only needs to replace a top-notch defensive coordinator, they need to find a great recruiter, too.

Maybe they try to go for Larry Johnson Sr. from Penn State, which would be a massive boost locally. Or perhaps Iowa's DC recruiter, LB coach Darrell Wilson. L.J. Sr. would be the ideal hire at this point, but Maryland's coaching staff definitely just took a big hit.