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 the coach who took over for Don Brown at UMass.
Keith Dudzinski, Inside Linebackers Coach
Date of Birth: Unknown.
When he joined Maryland: 2011
Alma Mater: New Haven '91
Hometown: Belchertown, Mass.
How'd He Get to College Park?
Dudzinski was an All-New England linebacker at New Haven, a Division II school, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and ended up staying at the school for three years after his graduation as a graduate assistant. As a grad assistant, he helped coach the linebackers and was a part of Mark Whipple’s coaching staff.
In Dudz’ first year as a member of the staff, the Chargers went 3-7, but followed it up with a 12-1 season in 1992 and 11-1 in 1993. After that year, both he and Whipple went to Brown – Whipple as the head coach, Dudz as the defensive line coach, and the Bears compiled a 24-16 record over four years before both went to UMass.
In their first year at UMass, Dudz, Whipple and co. won the national championship. After a few more successful years and a disappointing 3-8 campaign in 2001, he left UMass to join Don Brown’s staff at Northeastern. At first, he was the Huskies’ linebacking coach, but took over as defensive coordinator for the 2003 season.
Both Brown and Dudz got hired by UMass to take Whipple after he left for the NFL, and Dudz ended up as the defensive coordinator there until he was hired by Maryland in 2011.
As the inside linebackers coach last season, he oversaw a career year from Demetrius Hartsfield, one of the few bright spots on the defense. This season, he will be in charge of both the MIKE and MO positions.
Being a part of the national championship team at UMass.
Being passed over twice for the defensive coordinator spot.
Hartsfield makes first team All-ACC, and his counterpart at inside linebacker (whoever that may be) has a good season as well.
Hartsfield struggles in the new system, and the Terps fail to find a consistent option at MIKE.
This season, Keith Dudzinski will oversee two positions - MIKE and MO. Hartsfield has got MO covered, with Bradley Johnson there as a solid back-up. The position with more questions is MIKE, where Cole Farrand is listed as the starter, Lorne Goree is the likely starter come fall, and Abner Logan and Brock Dean will both be fighting for playing time as incoming freshmen.
There will be a lot of pressure on Maryland's inside linebackers to succeed in the new 3-4 system, but there's a good amount of talent there, led by Hartsfield. Dudzinski was a very good coordinator at UMass, and looks like a great get as a position coach for the Terps. He's still young, and should be a hot coaching commodity for the future, so we'll see how long Maryland can hold on to him. There were some people, including me, who were hoping Dudz would be named the defensive coordinator last season when the Randy Shannon plan fell through, but instead Randy Edsall went with Todd Bradford.
Now, Dudzinski will work in a new defensive system, but one that's probably much closer to what he's used to. While Don Brown's defense wasn't necessarily a 3-4, there were certainly 3-4 qualities - and there were often three down linemen with a lot of standing players crowding the line. Maryland's defense is hopefully going to get back to a lot of the elements that made it successful in 2010 - aggression and multiple looks. A lot of that starts with the inside linebackers, and we'll see how Dudzinski's unit adjusts to the change back to old times.
Our next player is the brother of a former special teams contributor who graduated last year.
Terpsfinish got Friday's right, and he's now giving Maryland 1206 a run for his money.
Maryland1206 - 2
Terpsfinish - 1
Everybody else - 0