- The Washington Times - Friday, December 16, 2005

It has been nearly a decade since Chris Cosh’s first stint on the Maryland football staff, so forgive him if he’s a bit unfamiliar with College Park.

“I didn’t know how to get here,” Cosh said. “Campus has changed with the new buildings. I didn’t know where the original front door [to the team house] was.”

Cosh has plenty of time to acquaint himself with campus geography since Maryland hired him as its defensive coordinator yesterday. Cosh replaces Gary Blackney, who had the job in coach Ralph Friedgen’s first five years and retired after the Terrapins’ second straight 5-6 season.

In addition to his coordinator duties, Cosh will coach the inside linebackers. Tim Banks will shift from inside linebackers to secondary, one of Blackney’s old responsibilities.

Friedgen declined to disclose the terms of Cosh’s deal. Cosh, who spent the last two seasons as Kansas State’s linebackers coach, was one of three coaches interviewed for the position and will take over a unit that ranked 46th among 117 Division I-A schools in total defense. The Terps were the No.20 pass defense but were 79th against the run.

A complete overhaul of Maryland’s defensive scheme is unlikely. Blackney primarily used an alignment with a hybrid position (LEO, or line-end option) that essentially permitted the defense to easily shift from its basic 3-4 set to what amounted to a 4-3.

“What I wanted was someone to come in and fit the players to the scheme,” Friedgen said. “I think what Chris plans to do is use our same terminology and maybe our same system if it fits. He’ll be the one adjusting, not the other players and coaches. I think that’s pretty smart.”

Cosh was a defensive coordinator at Illinois (1995-96), Michigan State (1998) and South Carolina (2003). He played for Bill Dooley while at Virginia Tech and has coached under Lou Tepper (Illinois), Nick Saban (Michigan State), Lou Holtz (South Carolina) and Bill Snyder (Kansas State).

The District native also was Maryland’s linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator in 1997, former coach Ron Vanderlinden’s first season.

“It’s good to be back home,” Cosh said. “It’s a thrill for me, obviously.”

Cosh maintained a reputation as a recruiter in the last decade, and Friedgen said his familiarity with the area and local high school coaches also was a factor. Friedgen hopes Cosh will be able to boost the Terps’ recruiting in addition to his coordinator duties.

“I know I can’t overload him, but the fact he has such ties to the area, it would be foolish to not use them,” Friedgen said.

Meanwhile, Friedgen said he had not heard updates concerning tight end Vernon Davis’ decision to declare for the NFL Draft or remain in school or the possibility of erstwhile starting quarterback Joel Statham transferring. Maryland began its final exams yesterday.

Davis, an Associated Press first-team All-American who had team highs in receptions (51), receiving yards (871) and receiving touchdowns (six), said after the season he would make his decision with input from both his family and Friedgen. Statham, who started 10 games in 2004, attempted only 36 passes in three games as Sam Hollenbach’s backup this season.

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