While signs have pointed to Lyndon Johnson being the next defensive coordinator here at UConn, with no announcement and the job posting extended to expire at midnight on New Year’s Day, there is still some time to analyze other potential options should Johnson not ultimately be the choice. For this, let’s look at candidates with ties to Edsall, including two that served as defensive coordinator during his time at Maryland:
BRIAN STEWART (DB COACH, DETROIT LIONS) – At first glance, Stewart makes sense; notably prior working history with Edsall, serving as his DC from 2012-14 at Maryland and vast NFL experience, including two above-average seasons as defensive coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys a decade ago. The problem with Stewart, however? Edsall’s stated twice since the close of 2018 that he wants a 4-3 defense moving forward. Stewart runs a 3-4 and did so under Edsall at Maryland. This all, but eliminates Stewart from speculation. Here’s what Edsall said about Stewart in a UM release after Stewart’s departure:
“We appreciate Brian’s contributions to our program over the past three seasons. Brian played an integral role in developing our student-athletes both on and off the field during his time at Maryland. While overseeing the defense he helped elevate our program to compete in one of the nation’s premier conferences. In our conversations, we both felt this was the best of course of action for Brian and his family, and the Maryland football program. I wish Brian the best in his future endeavors.”
TIM CARY (FORMER ASSOC HEAD COACH, CO-DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR, FORDHAM) – Cary is one of the many former grad assistants under Edsall, who parlayed that experience into full-time coaching careers. In six years at Fordham, Cary earned titles of associate head coach, defensive coordinator and secondary coach. However, after the 2016 season, Cary and his family moved to upstate New York to begin work at Trinity-Pawling, where he currently teaches math and serves as T-P’s defensive coordinator. Is a return to Connecticut realistic at this time?
KEITH DUDZINSKI (ASSOC HEAD COACH, DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR, ALBANY) – Dudzinski was Edsall’s choice to replace Stewart at Maryland as his defensive coordinator in 2015 when he made the switch from a 3-4, to a 4-3 defense. He was a member of Edsall’s staff at Maryland for all five seasons, serving as ILB coach before being promoted to DC. At Albany, he did have one-year of overlap with current Huskies WR Coach Aaron Smith and is a Northeast guy, through-and-through. Having coached at UMass prior to joining Edsall, where he had seven years of experience as their defensive coordinator, (including under current Michigan DC Don Brown), Dudzinski also had stops at Northeastern, Brown and his alma mater New Haven, while getting his coaching career started at two Connecticut High Schools; Kolbe Cathedral and St. Joseph’s. Dudzinski’s son just finished up his redshirt senior season at Albany, so could a move back to Connecticut be on the horizon?
“Keith is an accomplished coach who has a strong history as a defensive coordinator prior to his time at the University of Maryland,” Edsall said in 2015. “Over the past four seasons, he has been a great asset to our coaching staff in terms of game planning and developing our inside linebackers. Keith has a good rapport with our student-athletes and a great knowledge of our personnel, which will make for a seamless transition for our defensive unit.”
If it’s not Lyndon Johnson, Dudzinski is a likely candidate to at least have received a call from Edsall to gauge his interest in replacing Billy Crocker.
OPTIONS FOR HUSKIES DEFENSIVE BACKS COACH
SCOTT LAKATOS (DEFENISVE BACKS COACH, TOWSON) – I’ve speculated that Lakatos seems like the top replacement for Curome Cox, should Lyndon Johnson be named defensive coordinator, as the two were together at Towson this season under former Edsall offensive coordinator Rob Ambrose. Lakatos of course worked under Edsall here at UConn during his first stint before being hired away by Mark Richt at Georgia following the Huskies 2009 bowl win over South Carolina.
TORRIAN GRAY (DEFENSIVE BACKS COACH, WASHINGTON REDSKINS) – Gray would be a home run for the Huskies given his track record, but would only be realistic should Redskins head coach Jay Gruden be let go during the NFL’s ‘Black Monday.’ He worked as Edsall’s DB Coach at UConn from ’02-’03 and has held the same position at high profile stops with the Chicago Bears (2 years), Virginia Tech (10 years under Frank Beamer), Florida (1 year) and now the Redskins over the last two seasons.
DARRELL PERKINS (CO-DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR, SECONDARY COACH, FORDHAM) – Fordham has been and still is a hotbed for former Randy Edsall coaches and staffers. Perkins, who oversaw the Huskies secondary from 2010-13, had one-year of experience working for Edsall at UConn and another at Maryland (2015). Despite Perkins current role as co-DC at Fordham, his experience would make him a little green for a DC job at the FBS level.
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