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The case for Frank Reich as Maryland's next head football coach

The Chargers' coordinator has Terrapin roots – but could he adjust to the college game?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Over the coming weeks and months, the Maryland football program will search for a new head coach to replace the departed Randy Edsall. We know who the candidates are, but who should Maryland pick? We'll state every coach's case, whether he wants the job or not, in 500 words or fewer.

Frank Reich, San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator

The resume

Frank Reich is a Maryland Man. He was a pretty good starting quarterback for the Terps in 1984, when he completed 64 percent of his passes for almost 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns and led Maryland to a 9-3 mark under head coach Bobby Ross. That endears him to longtime fans, no doubt, although maybe not so much to younger generations.

Reich's had an impressive rise as a coach in the NFL, where he's been since 2006. He did six years as a coaching intern and then offensive assistant for Indianapolis, then spent 2012 as Larry Fitzgerald's receivers coach in Arizona. He moved to San Diego in 2013 and, after a year as Philip Rivers's quarterbacks coach, took a promotion to offensive coordinator – the job he's held for the last two seasons. Under Reich, the Chargers were 18th of 32 teams in total offense last year.

The benefits

Given his Maryland roots, Reich would invigorate the fan base – an aim of athletic director Kevin Anderson's – and would be instantly popular with program boosters. It's also possible that he'd give the team a professional ethos absorbed during his time in the NFL, and he could pitch recruits on his familiarity with the pro game.

The drawbacks

For one thing, Reich's never coached at the collegiate level. We have no idea if he has a deft touch or no touch at all on the recruiting trail, and we have no idea if he has the patience to deal with the academic and social housekeeping a Big Ten program requires. A college football coach can't be 100 percent about football, while an NFL coach can't be anything else.

Also, Reich's spent the last decade working in exclusively pro-style offenses. Peyton Manning certainly wasn't working out of a spread, and neither is Rivers now. Reich's never had to work with anything less than a star quarterback in a polished, professional structure. That doesn't seem to make him a fit with the spread, opened-up nature of the college game today. He'd have to throw a good deal of his playbook straight into a trashcan.

In one sentence

While it's not clear how well he'd adjust to the NCAA game, Reich has the Maryland bona-fides and coaching experience to make him an attractive candidate.