Maryland hires defensive coordinator

Former Houston defensive coordinator Brian Stewart has been hired as Maryland’s defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach, the school announced on Tuesday morning.

Coach Randy Edsall has now made the two most important hires of the offseason, replacing Todd Bradford with Stewart and offensive coordinator Gary Crowton with Mike Locksley. The Stewart hire was obviously in the works for much longer than the school let on, as it only announced the firing of Bradford on Friday. Stewart will have his work cut out for him, as he has to turn around one of the worst defenses in the country. Then again, the entire staff has to turn around a 2-10 season.

Stewart spent the past two seasons with Houston, which finished 13-1. The Cougars ranked in the top 15 in the FBS in five categories: red-zone scoring (second – 67 percent), interceptions (t-third – 21), tackles for loss (sixth – 7.7 per game), turnovers gained (t-10th – 31) and opponent passing efficiency (12th – 111.75 rating).

Houston also improved from 96th nationally in scoring defense (32.2 points per game) in 2010 to 35th (22.4) this past year.

“I’m very pleased to have Brian come on board,” Edsall said in a prepared statement. “He is a proven defensive coordinator at both the collegiate and professional level. All of his experience will help us move forward as we look for him to implement his aggressive style. He will also be a great addition to our recruiting efforts.”

I'll have more on this hire later this afternoon.