A recurring series where we will profile every player on Maryland's roster, counting down to kick-off against William & Mary on September 1. Thanks to OBNUG for the idea.
Today we profile Maryland's old special teams coordinator and current outside linebackers coach.
Lyndon Johnson, Outside Linebackers Coach
Date of Birth: 1/1/1968
When he joined Maryland: 2011
Alma Mater: Connecticut '92
Hometown: Norwalk, Conn.
How'd He Get to College Park?
Lyndon Johnson (and no, no relation) was a four-year offensive lineman at UConn from 1989-1992, starting every game over his last three years, when the Huskies were still a Division II program. He was a two-time second-team all-conference selection, and was the team's most valuable player (and a team captain) in 1991.
Johnson got his first coaching gig in 1994, as the defensive coordinator at Brien McMahon High School in his hometown of Norwalk. After four years there, he was hired as the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Sacred Heart University in Bridgeport, Conn., where he stayed for two years before being hired as the defensive line coach at Fordham in 1998.
In 1999, Johnson was finally hired by his alma mater, first as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach for two season, then as the outside linebackers coach for four years, and finally as the special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach for six seasons. Interestingly enough, the two-year stint as a tight ends coach is the former offensive lineman's only experience as an offensive coach.
In 2007, Johnson's special teams unit excelled, scoring four return touchdowns and producing a individual team record for points (100 by kicker Tony Ciaravino) and a solid season from punter Desi Cullen (40.7 yards per punt), on the way to the Big East title. Additionally, Scott Lutrus, a Johnson disciple, was a first-team Freshman All-American in '07 and was an all-conference selection in '08.
Johnson's special teams unit continued to grow in 2009, ranking ninth in the nation in kick return yardage, and they produced the top kick returner in the nation in 2010 in Nick Williams. Then, when Randy Edsall was hired by Maryland, Johnson tagged along, as the special teams coordinator and outside linebacker.
Like every Maryland coordinator last season, Johnson did so terribly that he lost that title. Unlike the rest of them, Johnson is still on the staff, albeit in a reduced capacity. The Terps were 51st in the nation in net punting, and 99th in both kick and punt returns. That's with Tony Logan, who in 2010 was arguably the best punt returner in the country, and two years removed from Torrey Smith's record-setting campaign.
Lyndon "B." Johnson
Nick Williams' 2010 campaign, when he averaged 35.3 yards per kick return and scored two touchdowns.
Losing his job after last year.
Kenny Tate finally adjusts to his role at SAM and Darin Drakeford has an injury-free/academic-problem-free season at WILL, giving Maryland two of the best outside linebackers in the conference.
Tate struggles to adapt, Drakeford is unable to play for whatever reason, and Maryland's outside linebacker depth is seriously hammered.
After a disastrous year overseeing the special teams, Lyndon Johnson will have a more specialized role this season - coaching the outside linebackers in the new 3-4 scheme. There's no question there's a boatload of talent there - Kenny Tate and Darin Drakeford are two of the most physically gifted players on the team - but there are questions surrounding both.
For Tate, he struggled quite a bit after moving to linebacker from safety last year, and ended up getting a medical redshirt after suffering a serious injury. He's still recovering from that injury, but should be good to go come fall. However, neither Johnson nor Maryland fans can have any realistic expectation as to which Tate will suit up for the Terps this season.
With Drakeford, he had injury troubles of his own last year, but the more pressing issue is with academics. He missed all of spring practice due to academic issues, and the hope is that doesn't carry over into the regular season. Unlike Tate, there are no doubts as to the level of his performance - Drakeford has performed at an extremely high level every season of his Maryland career.
There is some depth on the outside, but not enough for Maryland to afford to suffer any losses. Behind Tate at SAM is the very skilled youngster Alex Twine, but behind him is Lukas Foreman (suspended) and Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil (ineligible due to transfer). Instead, the most likely third/fourth-string options are incoming freshmen Stefan Houston and Avery Thompson.
At WILL, oft-injured Marcus Whitfield is Drakeford's backup, and converted defensive lineman Clarence Murphy is the third-stringer. Both are fine options off the bench, but you don't want either one as the starter just yet.
Maryland has three very good outside linebackers, and if Johnson is able to main a proper fitness and performance level from all three, the transition to the 3-4 will be made all the much easier. And hey, at least he's not coaching the special teams unit anymore.
The subject of our next profile spent all of his career in the Northeast before coming down to Maryland.
Maryland1206 got yesterday's right too, so he's holding a commanding lead.
Maryland1206 - 2
Everybody else - 0