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Three candidates reported for Maryland's open head coaching position, including Matt Canada

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Three candidates reported for Maryland's open head coaching position, including Matt Canada

The University of Maryland, for once, is going to take their time and make a careful decision about who will be the new head coach of their football team.

There are reportedly three candidates that have emerged in the eyes of Maryland Athletics and will be interviewed for the position. Those candidates include the Terrapins' 2018 interim head coach Matt Canada, Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley and Michigan quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton according to Emily Giambalvo of the Washington Post.

All three of these options for Maryland have a history with the Terps. None of them though have the big-name draw that many were expecting to fill for this vacant position inside one of the biggest recruiting bases in the country.

It was also reported by Giambalvo that Maryland will make a decision on the open position next week. It was noted that there might be more candidates emerge in the future as well.

Leading the Terrapins to a 5-7 record and on the cusp of bowl contention, Canada did an admirable and better-than-expected job guiding the program through perhaps its most tumultuous season in school history. One potential holdback on Canada being elevated to the permanent role is his lack of head coaching experience at the collegiate level. Combined with his journeyman career, not many Maryland faithful are fully supporting keeping him on. The 46-year-old has made stops at seven different programs in eight years.

Locksley should be a familiar name and, aside from Canada, was our top prediction to fill into the open spot. A former interim coach of the Terps himself, Locksley was elevated to the interim tag after the school let go of Randy Edsall in 2015. Locksley finished that year with a 1-5 record. 

Two times Locksley found himself on the Terps staff, first from 1997-2002 and then 2012-2015. There was a stint for the 48-year-old as the head coach at New Mexico. In three years from 2009-2012 he coached the team to a 2-26 record. Since 2016, Locksley has served as an offensive analyst and coordinator for Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Hamilton was considered for the same head coaching position back in 2015, before the hiring of D.J. Durkin. Hamilton, like Canada, has never been a head coach, but has already made high-profile and successful stops at Stanford and Michigan and with the Indianapolis Colts.

The position has been vacant since Durkin was fired back on Oct. 31. Canada was hired by Durkin as an assistant back in January of this year and despite his integral role in the team this season he may not be back next season. 

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Top candidates for the open Maryland football head coaching job

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Top candidates for the open Maryland football head coaching job

The Maryland Terrapins wrapped up their football season with a 5-7 record following Saturday’s 38-3 loss at Penn State. For the third time in four years, the Terps will not be playing in a bowl game.

Now, the attention turns to the sidelines and who will be tabbed the new leader of the football program. The two Power Five jobs that have been filled to this point, were not filled by potential candidates for the Maryland vacancy. North Carolina hired former Texas and UNC head coach Mack Brown and Kansas went with former LSU head coach Les Miles. 

In addition to Maryland, the other comparable jobs available are Texas Tech, Colorado, and Louisville. 

Atop Louisville’s wish-list is Purdue head coach and Louisville alum Jeff Brohm. Brohm, however, said “I’m the coach at Purdue. This is where I want to be and I like it here.”

So who should be on Maryland’s coaching wish-list?

Matt Canada, Interim Head Coach, Maryland

If Maryland had reached a bowl this season, it feels like Canada would keep the position. The four-game losing streak to end the season might make it a bit tougher. 

All things considered, Canada did an impressive job after everything all that unfolded off the field. The biggest question is if Maryland will go after a candidate with prior head coaching experience. 

Unlike Mike Locksley in 2015, Canada got a full-season as interim head coach under his belt at Maryland. 

One would assume that Canada will be among the final candidates for the position. 

Mike Locksley, Offensive Coordinator, Alabama

A familiar name, Locksley is expected to be one of the top candidates for Maryland.

Locksley spent six years at Maryland (1997-2002) as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator before departing for Florida in 2003. He returned to Maryland in 2012 as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Randy Edsall. Locksley took over as the interim head coach following Edsall’s dismissal. Locksley led the Terps to a 1-5 record. 

After the hiring of DJ Durkin, Locksley joined forces with Nick Saban down at Alabama. He was promoted to offensive coordinator prior to this season and has excelled in that role. 

Locksley is a tremendous recruiter but record as a head coach is troublesome. In two-plus seasons at New Mexico, the Lobos were just 2-26. The program also had some off the field issues

All of these factors need to be weighed when considering Locksley as the next head coach.

Dino Babers, Head Coach, Syracuse

Babers would be an ideal fit for Maryland. His innovative system could help mask the lack of athletes (compared to Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State) Maryland has. He is an incredible leader and has turned around a Syracuse program. The Orange’s nine wins this season are their most since 2001. 

But why would Babers want to leave Syracuse for Maryland? At this point, it would seem like a lateral move.

Ken Niumatalolo, Head Coach, Navy

Not the sexiest name considering Navy’s 3-9 record this season, but Niumatalolo has had incredible success in Annapolis since taking over for Paul Johnson. In 11 seasons, Niumatalolo has a record of 87-57, led Navy to nine bowl games, and defeated Notre Dame three times (Navy lost 43 straight games to Notre Dame from 1964-2006). Considering the recruiting challenges, those are some impressive credentials.

But, does Maryland want to become a triple option team?

Does Coach Ken want to leave Navy for Maryland?

Those two questions, make it an unlikely marriage.

Mike Norvell, Head Coach, Memphis

For a second straight year, Memphis will play in the American Athletic Conference championship game. Norvell is just 37-years-old and a very bright offensive mind. 

Norvell signed a five-year, $13 million dollar extension last December, making him the highest-paid Group of Five coach in the country. 

Will Maryland be able pony up enough cash to entice Norvell to leave?

Mel Tucker, Defensive Coordinator, Georgia

Outside of five games as the Jaguars interim head coach,Tucker does not have head coaching experience. Tucker is a defensive guru and has enjoyed plenty of success in his last two stops (Alabama & Georgia). 

Tucker is one of the highest paid defensive coordinators in the country so he can be picky.

Ryan Day, Offensive Coordinator, Ohio State

Day is a disciple of Chip Kelly. He has spent the past two years as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio St. Day led the Buckeyes to a 3-0 record while serving as their acting head coach this season. 

Day, 39, is one of the top coordinators in the country and will likely be very selective when it comes to his first head coaching gig.

Luke Fickell, Head Coach, Cincinnati 

According to Matt Zenitz of al.com, Maryland is interested in the Bearcats head coach. In his second season at Cincinnati, Fickell has done a tremdous job turning around the program. The Bearcats finished up the regular season with a 10-2 record after going 4-8 in 2016. The 10-win season is Cincinnati's first since 2012.

Fickell signed a six-year, $13.4 million contract when he was hired in December of 2016.

An Ohio State alum, Fickell is no stranger to the Big Ten East. He played nose guard in Columbus from 1993-96 then joined the Buckeyes' coaching staff in 2002. Fickell remained on the staff until he left for Cincinatti. He was promoted to co-defensive coordinator in 2005 then served as the interim head coach in 2011 following Jim Tressel's dismissal. He was retained when Urban Meyer was hired and served as the co-DC and linebackers coach again from 2012-16.

Lance Leipold, Head Coach, Buffalo

109-6.

That was Leipold’s head coaching record at Wisconsin-Whitewater. In eight years, he led UWW to six DIII National Championships. Six in eight years!

In his fourth season at Buffalo, he led the Bulls to a 10-win season and an appearance in the MAC Championship (plays Northern Illinois on Nov. 30). Since joining the FBS ranks in 2006, Buffalo has played in just one MAC title game and never won more than eight games in a season.

Geoff Collins, Head Coach, Temple

A great defensive mind, Collins has enjoyed a good amount of success in his first two years as the head coach of Temple. Collins took over for Matt Rhule, who left for Baylor, and went 7-6 in his first season with a win in Bad Boys Mower Gasparilla Bowl (Yes, that is a real bowl game).

Collins' squad is currently 8-4 and finished 7-1 in American Athletic Conference play. Their lone AAC loss was in a thriller to unbeaten UCF, 52-40. The Owls also crushed Maryland, 35-14, back in September.

Prior to his arrival in Philadelphia, Collins served as the defensive coordinator at Florida (2015-16), Mississippi State (2011-14), and Florida International (2010).

Scott Satterfield, Head Coach, Appalachian State

Appalachian State jumped from the FCS to the FBS in 2014. The Mountaineers have never had a losing record and have won nine or more games in each of the last four seasons. Appalachian State will host Louisiana on Dec. 1 in the inaugural Sun Belt Championship game. 

Satterfield has a 50-24 record as a head coach. Thanks to UNC hiring Mack Brown, Satterfield is still available. He would be a solid hire for Maryland but would he want to leave his alma mater for College Park?

Neal Brown, Head Coach, Troy

Similar to Satterfield, Brown has had tremendous success at a Sun Belt school. Brown led Troy to a conference championship last season and has compiled a record of 34-16 in four years at Troy and that includes a 4-8 initial campaign.

Brown was the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech from 2010-12, will he be high on the Red Raiders radar to replace Kliff Kingsbury?

Bill Clark, Head Coach, UAB

After one season as the head coach of the Blazers, UAB’s football program was eliminated. Seven months later, the program was reinstated. Clark stuck around and has performed a miracle in Alabama. UAB went 8-5 in 2017 and this season, the Blazers will play in the Conference USA Championship game on Dec. 1 against Middle Tennessee St.

If he can turn a program around that was eliminated, just imagine what he could do with the Terps?

Randy Edsall, Head Coach, UConn

Just Kidding.

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Maryland unable to keep pace with Penn State to end season

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Maryland unable to keep pace with Penn State to end season

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Trace McSorley completed 12 of 22 passes for 230 yards and had a hand in three touchdowns to help No. 15 Penn State rout Maryland 38-3 on Saturday.

McSorley added 64 rushing yards on 11 carries for the Nittany Lions (9-3, 6-3 Big Ten, No. 12 CFP). He threw a 34-yard bullet through freezing rain to KJ Hamler on the game's first play, sprinted downfield to throw a block that opened Miles Sanders up for a 35-yard run on the next, then skipped into the end zone from 3 yards out to cap the quick opening drive.

McSorley added another touchdown run two possessions later when he scrambled through a pair of defenders up the middle for 20 yards and a 14-3 lead.

Ricky Slade added 8- and 1-yard touchdown runs and tight end Pat Freiermuth caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from McSorley in the fourth quarter.

Sanders finished with 128 yards on 14 carries, Hamler caught three passes for 90 yards and Jake Pinegar added a 25-yard field goal for the Nittany Lions who won their third straight.

Tyrrell Pigrome completed 14 of 23 passes for 185 yards but was sacked five times for the Terrapins (5-7, 3-6). They will miss out on a bowl trip for the third time since joining the Big Ten.

Maryland kicker Joseph Petrino booted a 26-yard field goal to break the shutout.

THE TAKEAWAY

Maryland: A year that began with the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair following a team workout in the spring ends on a 4-game losing streak for the Terrapins who'll miss out on a bowl game for a second straight season. The program will have to make a call on interim coach Matt Canada, but Maryland has a nice class of freshman to give whoever takes over a young core to build around.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions spent much of this season trying to iron wrinkles out on offense with a new coordinator and a few fresh skill players. Their defense, meanwhile, spent the last three weeks of the season blossoming. After giving up 42 points to No. 4 Michigan in Ann Arbor on Nov. 3, Penn State allowed just 10, seven and three over its last three games. Much of that success can be traced to a front seven that helped produce 43 sacks on the season.

UP NEXT:

Maryland: Season over.

Penn State: Await bowl selection.

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