In year two under coordinators Mike Locklsey and Brian Stewart, Terps ready to cap off spring practice
The senior is transitioning from safety to linebacker
For most of the defensive backs, this spring marks the first time with a familiar scheme
Maryland returns seven starters on offense and five on defense
Maryland plays host to Georgia Tech Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Brian Stewart is in his first season as Maryland's defensive coordinator and secondary coach.
A former NFL defensive coordinator, Stewart completed a successful two-year stint with the Houston Cougars, who ended 2011 with a 13-1 record and a No. 14 ranking in the final USA Today poll.
Stewart oversaw a Cougars defense which was one of the best in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in 2011, ranking in the top 15 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).
After taking hold of Stewart's aggressive 3-4 scheme, Houston also improved from 96th nationally in scoring defense (32.2 points per game) in 2010 to 35th (22.4) last year.
Stewart has a history of grooming players and a pair of senior linebackers flourished last season in his defense.
Marcus McGraw totaled 141 stops in 2011 to set a school record for career tackles (509) and Sammy Brown finished the year with 30 tackles for a loss (a school record), including 13.5 sacks (second on the all-time Houston list). Brown led the FBS in TFL (2.1 per game) en route to All-America honors.
Another reason for Houston's defensive improvement was the play of cornerback D.J. Hayden. The junior-college transfer was named the 2011 Conference USA Newcomer of the Year after posting 11 pass breakups, two interceptions and five forced fumbles.
Stewart went to Houston after an eight-year run as an NFL assistant, including two years (2007-08) as the defensive coordinator with Dallas, where he guided the Cowboys to two top-10 rankings in fewest yards allowed.
The Cowboys led the league with 59 sacks in 2008 and ranked third in that category in 2007 (46). An NFL-best five Cowboys defenders (DeMarcus Ware, Roy Williams, Greg Ellis, Ken Hamlin and Terence Newman) earned Pro Bowl selections after the 2007 campaign.
Stewart spent the 2009 season as a defensive special assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he coached the NFL's top cornerback interception tandem of Asante Samuel (nine) and Sheldon Brown (five). Samuel led the league in interceptions in 2009 and was named to the 2010 Pro Bowl.
Stewart served as the secondary coach with the San Diego Chargers for three seasons (2004-06), During his final year, the Chargers posted a 14-2 record and ranked seventh in the NFL in scoring defense (18.9 points allowed per game), while cornerback Quentin Jammer had a career-high four interceptions.
Stewart began his NFL career as an assistant defensive backs coach with the Houston Texans (2002-03).
Before joining the professional ranks, Stewart spent his first nine years of coaching at the collegiate level.
He served as the defensive backs coach at Syracuse in 2001 when he helped lead the Orange to a 10-3 overall record and No. 14 ranking in final Associated Press poll.
Stewart also coached the secondary at San Jose State (1997-98) and Missouri (1999-00).
During his tenure at SJSU, his unit tied for seventh nationally with 20 interceptions in 1997, while the Spartans' pass defense ranked 37th nationally, its highest finish in the 1990s.
Stewart also mentored Missouri all-league free safety Julian Jones, who had a Big 12-best six interceptions in 1999.
A former college cornerback and free safety with Northern Arizona and Santa Monica City College, Stewart earned his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from NAU in 1995.
His first coaching position came as offensive assistant at Cal Poly, where he worked with the wide receivers in 1993 and running backs in 1994, when the Mustangs won the American West Conference title.
The native of West Covina, Calif., also coached tight ends at Northern Arizona University (1995) and was a graduate assistant at Missouri (1996).
Stewart is involved with a number of off-the-field endeavors.
He is the president of the Urban Football Coaches Association which conducts an annual coaching clinic in Los Angeles.
He attended Nogales High School in La Puente, Calif., and annually conducts a free, one-day football camp there for kids 7-19. He also serves as host for ASR - a sports retreat for minority coaches and administrators.
Stewart and his wife, Kimberly, have three daughters: Leila, Mya and Zara.
The Stewart File
PersonalDate of Birth: Dec. 4, 1964
Hometown: West Covina, Calif.
Alma Mater: Northern Arizona 1995
2012-Present: Assistant Coach - Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
2010-11: Assistant Coach - Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
2009: Assistant Coach - Defensive Special Assistant
2007-08: Assistant Coach - Defensive Coordinator
San Diego Chargers
2004-06: Assistant Coach - Defensive Backs
2002-03: Assistant Coach - Defensive Backs Assistant
2001: Assistant Coach - Defensive Backs
1999-00: Assistant Coach - Defensive Backs
San Jose State
1997-98: Assistant Coach - Defensive Backs
1996: Graduate Assistant Coach
1994-95: Assistant Coach - Tight Ends/Special Teams
1992-93: Assistant Coach - Wide Receivers/Running Backs
1986-87: Defensive Back
1983: Defensive Back
Santa Monica City College
1984-85: Defensive Back