The Maryland football team officially introduced Andy Buh as its new defensive coordinator on Monday. Buh comes by way of Kentucky, California, Wisconsin, Nevada, Stanford and a handful of other stops along a winding coaching career. He replaces Scott Shafer, the former Syracuse head coach who stepped down as Maryland's coordinator last week.
Since Durkin took over as head coach in December, he's filled out Gossett Team House with coaches who share his principles. Durkin is a defensive mind, and he hired Shafer with the intent to have him install a defense in Durkin's image – aggressive, with plenty of nickel looks and a 4-3 base scheme. Shafer was doing that in spring practice, and now that he's gone, Buh's going to do the same thing. He spent the morning on Tuesday shadowing Durkin on the Terps' practice fields.
"My philosophy is in line with Coach Durkin," Buh said. "We are an attack-style of defense. Obviously, we want to play great fundamentals. We want to maximize the talent here on this roster first, develop these guys into fierce competitors and then attack. We are an attacking-style of defense. We want to dictate to the offense what we are going to do."
Durkin's defenses have long thrived on controlled chaos. That was particularly true at Michigan last year, while Buh spent the year coaching outside linebackers at Kentucky. Here's a rundown of Buh's history, which includes a stint at Stanford alongside Durkin. That's how the two men know each other.
|1999||Nevada||Defensive Backs, Special Teams|
|2000-2001||California||Defensive Administrative Assistant|
|2002-2005||San Diego State||Linebackers|
|2006||Fresno State||Graduate Assistant|
|2008-2009||Stanford||Co-Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers|
|2010-2011||Nevada||Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers|
|2013||Cal||Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers|
It's hard to assign Buh complete responsibility for how any of his defenses did. He hasn't been a head coach or spent more than four years at one program, so he hasn't been chiefly responsible for assembling talent.
With that in mind, Buh's had coordinating responsibilities at three schools: Stanford, Nevada and Cal. The results were pretty mixed at these places. His Stanford defenses were really bad, which isn't the best. But then, Durkin coached there at the same time, and he's turned out fine. On another hand, Buh's Nevada defenses were quite good, and his one year at Cal in 2013 isn't worth much consideration because injuries sabotaged it.
Here's how Buh's defense have stacked up by S&P+, an opponent-adjusted stat that measures defensive performance based on play-by-play data.
|Andy Buh's history as a coordinator|
|Year||Program||Total S&P+ Rank||Vs. Run||Vs. Pass|
Mostly, the results haven't been very good. They were worst at Stanford, where the Cardinal turned things around quickly in 2010 but struggled under Buh and co-coordinator Ron Lynn in 2009 and 2009. However, it's not really fair to pin the Cardinal's failures on Buh. They were coming off a 1-11 year when he showed up, a long way from the powerhouse they'd eventually become under Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw. It wasn't an easy job when Buh took it.
For Buh, things were a lot better at Nevada, and his one-year run at Cal is basically a wash because all of Buh's players got hurt. (Here's a primer on the 2012 Maryland quarterbacks-like situation that befell the Bears.)
There's no indication that Buh's defenses have been better against the run or the pass, in particular. That's a different track record than Shafer, whose 4-3 defenses at Syracuse were traditionally much better against the run.
Brett Bielema, the current Arkansas head coach who was Buh's boss at Wisconsin in 2012, had nice things to say about him in a Maryland release announcing Buh's hiring. So did Kentucky's Mark Stoops, his most recent head coach.
Now, Buh's going to work with Durkin again.
"There was only one phone call I made," Durkin said, when Shafer left his job. "There was only one person I spoke to about this job, and that was it. I knew in my mind who we needed to go with, and Andy is guy who is very familiar with what we do defensively. He is a great coach on the field, but really more than that, just what he brings to the table in terms of off the field and the type of person he is and dealing with our players day-in and day-out."