December 7, 2019

Maryland Football: Report–Terps to hire Michigan defensive coordinator DJ Durkin to be next head coach

After Randy Edsall was fired during the Maryland Terrapins bye week, athletic director Kevin Anderson began searching for the next head coach in College Park for football. Interim head coach Mike Locksley finished the season 1-5, the lone victory coming in the season finale against Rutgers. On Wednesday afternoon, Sports Illustrated was the first of many to hear from a source that current Michigan defensive coordinator, D.J. Durkin, will be 36th head coach in the Terrapins history.

Durkin, 37, played defensive end and outside linebacker at Bowling Green until 2000, when he then transitioned to a graduate assistant. After a brief stint at Notre Dame in the same position, Durkin returned to Bowling Green as the defensive end and then linebackers and special teams coach. At Bowling Green, Durkin worked under current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.

Following a sting at Stanford as the defensive ends and special teams coach with current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, Durkin returned to work under Meyer at Florida as a linebackers and special teams coach. Durkin remained at Florida when Will Muschamp quickly took over after Meyer resigned and he was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2013 to replace former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator and current Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. In the Gators final game of the 2014 season, Durkin served as interim head coach after Muschamp stepped down.

(Photo by: Tony Ding/AP)

(Photo by: Tony Ding/AP)

Durkin, moving on from Florida, was hired as the defensive coordinator for Michigan less than 11 months ago in a reunion with former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. There, Durkin also coached the teams’ linebackers. Durkin, with Harbaugh, is credited for turning around a dismal program with an aggressive defensive philosophy that gave Maryland fits, 105 total yards, earlier this year. Yes, Durkin had far superior talent in Ann Arbor, but with his reputation of being the 2012 recruiter of the year we could see steady improvement in College Park.

Durkin will not receive a lofty $8 million annual salary that his mentor Harbaugh received from his alma mater. Durkin, the Ohio native, will probably have something similar to Randy Edsall’s $3 million annually, per our best estimates.

It is unknown if either Locksley or current defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski will stay on as coordinators or if Durkin would rather bring in his own associates. It is also unclear whether Durkin was Kevin Anderson’s first choice when compared to the likes of Mark Richt or many other potential candidates.

Maryland Football: Terps have best chance of conference win all year against struggling Hoosiers

(Photo by: Testudo Times)

(Photo by: Testudo Times)

It is officially basketball season in College Park. But even after a great victory against the Georgetown Hoyas in a renewed rivalry on Tuesday, there are still two more games that the University of Maryland’s football team has to partake in. After going through the gauntlet of some of the Big Ten’s best and brightest programs nationally — featuring Ohio State, Iowa, and Michigan State — the Terps schedule takes a huge turn for the better. All of that starts with hosting the Indiana Hoosiers this week, who are also looking for their first conference win.

After then-starting quarterback C.J. Brown went down with injury against the Hoosiers last year, now-backup quarterback Caleb Rowe came in to save the day by throwing for two touchdowns on the way to the Terps rout of Indiana in their first conference game as a member of the Big Ten. Of course, a lot of that victory has to do with now-departed receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, who combined for 16 receptions, 220 yards, and a touchdown. Things are much different for the Terps new-look offense now, designed around the legs of Perry Hills.

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Maryland Football: Terps still searching for Big Ten victory, hosting Wisconsin for homecoming holds little hope

(Photo by: Jeff Hanisch/ USA Today)

(Photo by: Jeff Hanisch/ USA Today)

In the past three games, the Maryland Terrapins have looked more competitive relative to blowout losses to West Virginia and Michigan. It it were not for a ridiculous number of turnovers, 11 in the past three games, who knows if the Terps would actually have been able to knock off some of the powerhouses in college football in Ohio State, Penn State, and Iowa. Although probably an easier task against Wisconsin at home compared to Ohio State and Iowa, top ten teams on the road, Maryland will have their work cut out for them to simply keep the student section marginally filled on homecoming.

It might be Maryland’s hardest opponent of the year to muster up any points against because of a fiery Wisconsin defense that is best in the nation at allowing just 11 points per game. The interesting matchup for the Terps offense will be Perry Hills‘ effectiveness on the ground against the seventh ranked rush defense in the country that surrenders just 96 yards on the ground per game. With Mike Locksley retooling the offense around Hills’ legs, the senior quarterback has been able to gain 400 yards on the ground, on a combination of designed runs and scrambles, since returning to the starting fold.

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Maryland Football: Competitive early, but poor quarterback play by Perry Hills late dooms Terps against Penn State

(Photo by: Rich Barnes-USA Today Sports)

(Photo by: Rich Barnes-USA Today Sports)

Today was probably one of the last games that the Maryland Terrapins would have a chance to actually pull out a victory this season. In the national spotlight, on ESPN, the Terps showed that they could play tough against arguably one of the best quarterback prospects for the NFL in Christian Hackenberg. Mike Locksley had his guys ready to go coming out of the bye week and Maryland was competitive throughout the first half. A shootout ensued in the second half as the lead changed hands four times on consecutive drives. In the end, Perry Hills choked in the spotlight when Penn State left the door open for a late comeback to the Terps where Maryland had converted last year. Maryland fell 31-30 in a border battle with Penn State and their hopes of bowl eligibility under Mike Locksley are now next to none at 2-5.

The theme for Maryland to start the game was their ability to move the ball with ease but inability to convert the yardage into points. On the opening drive, Maryland had three plays of 16 yards and nearing field goal range before Perry Hills under threw Malcolm Culmer in double coverage for an interception. After the defense forced a three and out, Maryland was set up at the Penn State 34 following a catch and run by Levern Jacobs after Hills broke contain. A poor screen and sack resulted in another stalled drive resulting in no points. The third try was not the charm for Maryland as Hills fumbled in the red zone after the defense worked hard to force another three and out.

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