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Meet Keith Dudzinski, Maryland's new defensive coordinator

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He's been on the staff since 2011 -- get to know Coach Dud better.

@Terp_dud

Maryland made a somewhat shocking move late last week, replacing three-year defensive coordinator Brian Stewart with inside linebackers coach Keith Dudzinski. The Terrapins' defense had declined statistically over each of the past two seasons, culminating in disappointing performances for the senior-heavy unit against Rutgers and Stanford to end the season. Randy Edsall has decided to overhaul the defense, and while the players may be familiar with their new coordinator, most fans probably need a refresher course on Coach Dud.

A Connecticut native, Dudzinski was an All-New England linebacker and team captain at New Haven, graduating in 1991. He was a graduate assistant for three years there before moving on to Brown, coaching the defensive line for four seasons. In 1998, Dudzinski was hired for the first time by UMass, cycling through each defensive unit (and special teams) before moving to Northeastern in 2002 as a linebackers coach under head coach Don Brown. He got his first defensive coordinator opportunity the next year with the Huskies, helping lead them to a 6-3 record.

Brown was hired as UMass' head coach before the 2004 season and Dudzinski followed him there, serving as the team's defensive coordinator through 2010 (two years after Brown left for Maryland). The Minutemen made two FCS national championship games in his time with the school.

Here's how Dudzinski's defenses performed and ranked at the FCS level. All stats via the NCAA, whose FCS database goes back to 2007. Each statistic is per-game.

Team Scoring defense Rank Total defense Rank Rushing defense Rank Pass defense Rank Pass efficiency defense Rank Sacks Rank Tackles for Loss Ranked
2007 UMass 19.2 15 309.6 14 115.6 13 194 46 108 13 3.4 4 7.2 26
2008 UMass 26.8 71 358.8 72 194.8 102 164 18 130.3 77 1.5 88 4.8 99
2009 UMass 22.2 47 318 35 119.9 28 198.1 66 118.7 51 1.2 108 6.1 T-53
2010 UMass 25.2 63 355.5 61 171.2 86 184.3 37 131 80 1 109 3.5 114

For comparison's sake, here's Maryland stats and rankings at the FBS level over the past four years. The first year (2011) was under defensive coordinator Todd Bradford -- the rest were Brian Stewart's units.

Team Scoring defense Rank Total defense Rank Rushing defense Rank Pass defense Rank Pass efficiency defense Rank Sacks Rank Tackles for Loss Ranked
2011 Maryland 34.3 102 457.2 108 219.8 111 237.4 75 139.9 93 2.2 41 6.3 44
2012 Maryland 27.2 56 336.9 21 129.3 26 207.5 30 131.9 65 2.3 38 6.4 35
2013 Maryland 25.3 54 375.2 44 150.2 46 225.1 57 126.9 64 2.7 T-19 7.7 8
2014 Maryland 30.2 89 436.2 97 201.9 99 234.3 80 121.4 40 2.4 T-44 5.8 72

Dudzinski was hired as Maryland's inside linebackers coach in 2011 as a part of Randy Edsall's first staff, and has remained in the role since.

Some notable players he's coached:

  • Liam Ezekiel, an All-Atlantic 10 linebacker at Northeastern who recorded 140 tackles in 2003.
  • Shannon James, a consensus two-time first-team All-American defensive back at UMass who led the nation with 10 interceptions in 2004 and finished the school's all-time leader with 20.
  • Jason Hatchell, an All-American linebacker at UMass who had three straight 100-tackle seasons and 134 in 2006.
  • Charles Walker, an all-CAA linebacker at UMass who recorded 131 tackles in 2006.
  • Brad Anderson, an all-CAA linebacker at UMass who completed a terrific linebacking corps for the Minutemen in 2006. He recorded 112 tackles that season.
  • Tyler Holmes, an All-American linebacker at UMass who had 110 tackles with 12 for a loss in 2010.
  • Demetrius Hartsfield, an honorable mention all-ACC linebacker at Maryland who recorded 108 tackles with seven for a loss in 2011.
  • Cole Farrand, an honorable mention all-ACC linebacker at Maryland who recorded 118 tackles with seven passes broken up in 2014.
  • L.A. Goree, who teamed up with Farrand for a dynamic inside linebacking duo for the Terps. He recorded 98 tackles with two for a loss in 2014.

In terms of recruiting, Dudzinski has been successful in the New Jersey region and has been one of the Terps' most tireless recruiters, most notably grabbing four-star wide receiver Juwann Winfree in the 2014 class.  His other commitments -- three-star Connecticut tight end Andrew Isaacs, three-star McDonogh defensive back Josh Woods, three-star McDonogh offensive guard Ellis McKennie, three-star Massachusetts defensive lineman Oseh Saine, three-star St. Stephen's and St. Agnes linebacker Isaiah Davis and two-star Catonsville wide receiver DeAndre Lane.