Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen appointed Al Seamonson as the Terrapins‘ interim defensive coordinator for this month’s Humanitarian Bowl and acknowledged the longtime assistant is a candidate for the job full time.
Seamonson will step in for former defensive coordinator Chris Cosh, who left last week to become the assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator at Kansas State.
“I’m trying to find the best guy for the job, and Al’s in consideration,” Friedgen said.
Elevating Seamonson - at least temporarily - is a logical move for Maryland (7-5), which meets Nevada (7-5) on Dec. 30. Seamonson is in his eighth season with the program as the outside linebackers coach and special teams assistant. He will oversee all linebackers for the bowl game.
It will be Seamonson’s first defensive coordinator experience and could lead to the role next season.
“Obviously, that would be a great thing, a great opportunity for me,” he said. “That’s what every coach wants to have, to run his own defense and have a chance to be part of something special and winning games. With that, it’s whatever Coach Friedgen chooses to do that’s for the best of the program.
“If we go there and win, great. If I get an opportunity to keep the job, excellent. If we don’t and I do or don’t, it’s all what’s best for the program.”
Seamonson’s increased role was not Friedgen’s only staff shuffling. Graduate assistant Henry Baker will help Seamonson with the inside linebackers, which was Cosh’s position responsibility. Brian White, in his third year in the program, will be in charge of tight ends after Danny Pearman’s departure for Clemson last week. Friedgen said he plans to assist White with the special teams coordination.
Still, Seamonson will receive plenty of attention for how the Terps fare against the Wolf Pack, who own the nation’s No. 2 rushing offense (behind Navy) and No. 5 total offense. It is, in effect, a tryout for the job - an advantage no external candidate could enjoy.
“I think it’ll be a big opportunity for him because if he does it well and we have success in the bowl game, it will show he’s capable of doing it and capable of handling the job,” linebacker Moise Fokou said. “That should put a big consideration into Coach Friedgen’s mind. This is his test right now in a sense.”
Friedgen didn’t have many in-house options for the short-term assignment. Defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo is also the Terps’ recruiting coordinator; secondary coach Kevin Lempa is in his second season at Maryland.
However, Seamonson’s interim selection seems like a popular decision.
“He’s the perfect man for the job,” linebacker Dave Philistin said. “He’s going to come out and show what he does in the bowl game. I really feel the respect he gets from the players and the other coaches [is significant]. It’s not my move, but if Coach Friedgen asked what I thought of Coach Seamonson as defensive coordinator, I would have said he should have been defensive coordinator quite a long time ago.”
Note - Senior linebacker Rick Costa’s first-degree felony assault charge stemming from a Nov. 8 incident in College Park was reduced to a second-degree misdemeanor assault charge, according to a Maryland state judiciary case search.
Costa now faces three second-degree assault charges. He was suspended indefinitely Nov. 11 and missed Maryland’s final three games in accordance with the athletic department’s policy of preventing athletes with pending felony charges from participating in team activities. Friedgen left open the possibility Costa could be reinstated for the Humanitarian Bowl but was noncommittal.
“There’s a possibility he could be back; we’ll just have to wait and see,” he said. “I can’t say anything right now, but that will be forthcoming in the next day or so.”