- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 19, 2006

In the five months since he started his second coaching stint at Maryland, Chris Cosh hasn’t found time to buy a house.

But it hasn’t stopped the Terrapins’ new defensive coordinator from making himself at home in College Park.

The sight of a sweats-clad Cosh charging toward defensive players with praise or criticism — and sometimes both — has become common during Maryland’s first nine spring practices as the Terps adjust to their first new defensive coordinator since Ralph Friedgen became coach in 2001.

“I’m a guy who likes to talk and run around and all that stuff, so I really enjoy it,” senior cornerback Josh Wilson said. “It just gets everybody going and gets the defense pumped. It’s just that fire you need. It’s early in the morning and sometimes its hard for us to get up and jump around. But to see an old man jumping around, it gets us going and ready to play football.”

He’s been doing so for a quarter-century. The 46-year-old Cosh has served as a defensive coordinator at three Division I-A schools (Illinois, Michigan State and South Carolina), and wedged a one-year stint as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at Maryland in 1997. Cosh spent the last two years as the linebackers coach at Kansas State.

Back at Maryland after a nearly decade-long absence, Cosh can’t help but marvel at the changes in the program. The team’s practice facility is far different from the days Cosh reminisced about yesterday, when players begged to run 40-yard dashes with the aid of a dip in one part of the field.

Cosh’s attention to the basics of defense is not any different. The Terps — and the middle linebackers, who Cosh specifically coaches — have received a primer in pursuit and tackling in the month leading up to the April 29 spring game.

“I’m just trying to emphasize the fundamentals of gap control,” said Cosh, who grew up in the area and is living with his mother in Annapolis while searching for a new home. “Take care of your assignment and then run to the football. Bottom line is you want to take the shortest route to the ball carrier and arrive there in a bad mood.”

The Terps just don’t want Cosh to be ill-tempered when he arrives in the huddle. It’s happened at times this spring, and players have been quick to learn of their mistakes. Cosh has taken an active role on the field since taking over for the retired Gary Blackney, a move that allowed Tim Banks to move from coaching the middle linebackers to the secondary.

“I don’t want to mess up if I’m a linebacker,” Wilson said. “He just goes on a search and destroy mission to find [the offending player]. … [But] he’s great guy and I love talking to him. He’s all about high energy and leadership.”

Neither Friedgen nor players said there would be a drastic change in the Terps’ defensive scheme next fall. Cosh is making a few tweaks to try to improve a unit that struggled for much of last season, though his enthusiasm is already rubbing off on his players.

“I played like that,” Cosh said. “Defense has to be an exciting thing. I think there’s a lot of ways to score on defense and I try to emphasize that.”

Notes — Friedgen said he has interviewed six candidates for Maryland’s vacant quarterbacks coach position and he plans to interview a couple more. “Nine days into spring, might as well go six more,” said Friedgen, who has handled the offensive coordinator and quarterback coaching duties since Charlie Taaffe’s departure in February. … Wide receiver Drew Weatherly sat out practice with a hematoma on his left arm, but Friedgen said he expected the senior to return for tomorrow’s practice. … Friedgen said linebacker Rick Costa (shoulder) could participate in non-contact drills tomorrow. “He’s been in my office five times wanting to practice. … He’s frothing at the bit because he sees it’s pretty competitive at linebacker.”

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