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Florida State hires Maryland’s Walt Bell as offensive coordinator

DJ Durkin’s sidekick is on his way to Tallahassee.

Central Florida v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

After two years at Maryland, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Walt Bell is taking the same positions with Florida State. The move was first reported by Yahoo’s Pete Thamel on Tuesday night.

The Terps didn’t quite show the results with Bell around, but he’s been rising in the coaching ranks for a while. He came to Maryland from Arkansas State and had previous stops at North Carolina and Oklahoma State, all of which had explosive offenses while he was on staff. In 2017, Maryland scored 114 points in its first two games before losing both of its top two quarterbacks by the season’s third contest.

Florida State lost head coach Jimbo Fisher to Texas A&M this offseason and replaced him with Oregon’s Willie Taggart. For a while, the Seminoles’ top offensive coordinator choice seemed to be Mike Locksley, who previously held the job at Maryland and was also the Terps’ interim head coach after Randy Edsall was fired in 2015. Locksley appears to be a candidate to replace Brian Daboll as Alabama’s offensive coordinator instead.

Bell’s new position will almost certainly come with a pay raise, but it appears Taggart will call plays, a responsibility Bell held at Maryland.

With Bell gone, it’s unclear what direction Maryland takes to fill his spot. In addition to needing an offensive coordinator, the Terps also have two open spots to fill vacancies at quarterbacks coach and running backs coach. None of Maryland’s current assistants have extensive offensive coordinator experience. Wide receivers coach Chris Beatty has two one-season stints at the position, while tight ends coach Pete Lembo has been a head coach and was special teams coordinator until some staff shuffling last week. With the traditional signing period still to come in February, it’ll help the Terps to have a coordinator in place sooner rather than later.

This article was updated on Jan. 18 after Bell announced his move on Twitter.