Except during that crucial hour between the whistles, college football coaches are an exceedingly polite bunch. This is to the constant frustration of fans who'd like nothing better than to hear exactly what damages Dana Holgorsen and Todd Graham would inflict on one another with crowbars should they ever meet in a dark deserted alley. When the cameras are rolling, the pearly whites are arranged in some snarling rictus that at least halfway resembles a smile. And whenever that face falters, it's news.
Which brings us to Maryland offensive coordinator Gary Crowton's Sunday interview in the Baltimore Sun, in which he blames the desiccation of LSU's recent offensive output on Les Miles:
In a 50-minute interview, Crowton said bluntly that "No, it wasn't my offense" at LSU and that it would be unfair to make assessments based solely on those four years.
This is sort of a weird salvo to attempt, albeit a plausible one. An unquantifiable offensive philosophy that seemed to consist of "enjoying the horrendous misfires in the passing game that leave our elite receivers sobbing quietly into their mouthguards before occasionally recalling we have a seemingly inexhaustible stable of capable running backs" sounds exactly like something The Hat would cook up in one of his patented fever dreams. But what this does is put Crowton under the gun at Maryland, where much is being made of a top-secret offensive scheme that will somehow showcase his skills in better fashion than he could accomplish at LSU with a bottomless well of talent. (And failing that, will he simply anger the fickle football gods by publicly questioning Baton Rouge's scary unknowable magic?)
The Bayou Bengals ranked 86th nationally in total offense in 2010, ranking several slots below Maryland. The Terps clocked in at No. 80 running a balanced, if mediocre offensive attack. That gap will have to widen, and widen with an inferior recruiting base, for Crowton to register even a discernible blip of credibility. But Crowton's saying he's got the goods, and I'm piqued. All right, guy. You say you wore handcuffs into a boxing match at LSU? Let's see some knockouts in College Park and we'll happily agree.
The Terps open 2011 play at home on Labor Day against Miami, 8 p.m. sharp.