ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh announced the first of his assistant coaching appointments on Thursday (Jan. 8), hiring D.J. Durkin as the Wolverines' defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Durkin comes to Ann Arbor after spending the past five seasons at the University of Florida (2010-14), including the last two years as the Gators' defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
"D.J. is one of the top young defensive coordinators in football, and I look forward to having him work with our student-athletes," said Harbaugh, the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach. "He will make an excellent addition to our staff."
"Reuniting with Jim at the University of Michigan is an opportunity that I could not pass up," said Durkin. "We had some great times working together at Stanford, and I look forward to producing great results at Michigan. I look forward to coaching in the Big Ten after growing up in that footprint. I am excited to return to the Midwest and recruit and teach some of the best and brightest young men in the country."
Durkin, who served as interim head coach for the Gators' 28-20 victory over East Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl on Jan. 3, joined Florida's coaching staff as special teams coordinator and linebackers coach in 2010 before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2013. The Gators' defense thrived in two seasons under Durkin's guidance, finishing 15th in total defense (329.8 yards per game) last season and second in the SEC and eighth in the country in total defense (314.2 yards per game) in 2013.
Florida's 2014 squad finished the regular season fifth in the country in yards allowed per play (4.45), ninth in the nation in yards allowed per rush attempt (3.16) and 10th in the NCAA in yards allowed per pass attempt (5.9). Defensive lineman Dante Fowler Jr. and defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III garnered All-SEC first team accolades, and linebacker Antonio Morrison was an all-conference second team selection.
In Durkin's first season as defensive coordinator in 2013, the Gators' proved to be one of the elite units in the nation, ranking among the best in a number of major categories. Florida finished first in the SEC and seventh in the country in pass defense (171. 8 yards per game), sixth in first downs allowed (16.1 per game) and 15th in scoring defense (21.1 points per game) while allowing only 27 touchdowns, the sixth fewest in the nation.
Prior to his tenure in Gainesville, Durkin spent three seasons with Harbaugh at Stanford (2007-09), where he was the Cardinals' defensive ends coach and special teams coordinator. Under Durkin's tutelage, Stanford's defensive ends helped the Cardinal rank 11th nationally in sacks per game in 2007 and 2009.
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Durkin came to Stanford after serving two seasons on the coaching staff at his alma mater, Bowling Green, where worked with the defensive ends in 2005 before taking over responsibilities with the linebackers and special teams in 2006.
Durkin began his coaching career at Bowling Green, where he was a four-year starter for the Falcons from 1997-2000. Following graduation, he served as a defensive graduate assistant for two seasons (2001-02). In 2001, Bowling Green's defense ranked first in the Mid-American Conference in total defense as well as four other major categories. Following a two-year stay at Bowling Green, Durkin moved on to Notre Dame, where he assisted the Irish staff in all defensive aspects with concentrated duties on the defensive ends. He worked closely with the program's all-time sack leader, Justin Tuck, in 2004.
As a player, Durkin was a four-year starting defensive end and outside linebacker at Bowling Green from 1997-2000 and served as one of the team captains for two seasons. He started a total of 33 games in his career and recorded 131 tackles, including 28 for loss. He led the team in sacks in 1998 and finished second in that category in 2000. He also received numerous awards during his playing career, including the Ken Schoeni Award for character and toughness, the Carlos Jackson Award personifying the values of a student-athlete and the Leadership Award.
Durkin earned his bachelor's degree in business marketing from Bowling Green in 2001 and added a master's degree in educational administration and supervision in May of 2004. He attended Boardman High School, where he was an all-conference and all-Northeast Ohio selection.
He and his wife, Sarah, have one daughter, Abigail, and one son, Luke.
Let's give a big welcome to Coach Durkin!!
I think this explains it all when it comes to Harbaugh and QBs!
So much to summarize but I will try. Because he played QB for so long and was really good, he had a unique prespective when watching film. He knew exactly where the QB's eyes should be focused for every play before the snap. Rich Gannon goes on to say how awesome it was to have him as his QB coach for only one year. He never got too technical, it was more about crowd Noise, etc. Gannon, who is now an announcer, also says that when he had meeting with Harbaugh before NFL games, he would get the most out of it because of how bright and outside the box he is. The kids he coached in college go on to say that Harbaugh is better with really smart QBs and that he probably will have a QB coach beside himself.......there is a lot more ...all really informative too
During our disappointing season, throngs of MGoBloggers noted that they were cancelling their football season tickets. Many cited price as their primary concern (and their annoyance with all things that came from David Brandon and Hunter Lochman), but ultimately, I assume that most were tired of losing and watching "bad" football.
Given that expectations are back on the up and up, how many of you are signing back up for season tickets and/or renewing your season tickets? Are any of you increasing the number of tickets that you will buy or going to higher PSD tiers as well?
Will increased demand for tickets finally turn around the recent trend of bargain basement prices for seats on the Stubhub secondary market?
According to Bruce Feldman's source, former Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder is joining the staff at Michigan State.
Michigan State already has co-DCs (promoted after Narduzzi left), so it is unclear what Snyder's role would be.
I am totally OK with this, BTW. It just struck me as I was going through a couple of coaching staff threads that so far, Harbaugh is exceeding even our most unrealistic expectations. When I look back two weeks (!) and how I was feeling then, and what people were saying...what's happened since is truly unbelievable.
1. Harbaugh said yes.
2. Our program's perception among recruits, analysts, fans, etc. has undergone a complete turnaround. Without playing a game-hell, without having a practice-the perception is that Michigan is back, and a force to be reckoned with.
3. We are already getting spoiled, to the point where a poster commented that JH "Finally" is completing his staff. Dude, it's been 10 days, and he's put together an all-star group that I have to believe is one of the best in CFB.
4. I wake up every morning and say "Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh"...and smile.
I knew if he came here, it was going to be great. Just didn't realize it would be this great. I know, we haven't won a game yet. I know, only 6 recruits signed for this year. Don't care, so looking forward to watching this team play and once again arranging my other life commitments around Michigan football games rather than watching 5 minutes and then checking the score 3 hours later.
Do not read if you only care about the next 2 years - Michigan football will be a veteran group. However, due to the disaster class of 2010 and resulting imbalanced classes the 2017 squad could be among the youngest we've seen in a while. Hence the 2015 and 2016 classes will be critical to make 2017 (2018) a success; we need both the correct positions filled, and a great majority of those players to "hit".
Below is a table showing each position and who on the current roster + the six 2015 commits fits into those positions (excluding kickers). As I was doing my position by position analysis for 2015-2016 I unfortunately noticed some serious "donut holes" (i.e. upperclassmen not followed by a bevy of underclassmen) in quite a few spots, bringing up some similar worries to the 2013-2014 OL situation.
Per the MGo depth chart here is how many openings we currently have in each recruiting class (of course there will be attrition to increase the #s) but it showcases the massive departures post 2016.
- 2015: 12 (this assumes both Glasgows and Kerridge get scholarships as they should and accounts for Bosch/Ferns departues) - 6 spots are already filled
- 2016: 17
- 2017: 26(!)
- 2018: 18
Put another way 43 (17+26) current scholarship players will use up eligibility by the end of 2016. That's 50% of the roster - and it's not far away. Hence a very young 2017 squad. Normally it would be something closer to 38-42%.
Again reverse engineering:
- A 2015 recruit will be either be a true JR or RS SO in 2017 - that's fine, but currently we only have room for 12 of them and 1 is a kicker.
- A 2016 recruit will be either a true SO or RS FR in 2017, not ideal for front line starter especially for line play or places like safety.
So a lot of the 2015 and 2016 recruits will be playing in 2017 with those class designations just due to vacancies.
|FB||1||Above Ave||W. Shallman|
|WR||6||Average||J. Dukes, R. Douglas, F. Canteen,|
|D. Harris, M. Ways, B. Cole|
|TE||2||Above Ave||K. Hill, I. Bunting|
|OT||5||Average||M. Cole, C. Fox, LTT, JBB, G. Newsome|
|OG||3||Above Ave||D. Dawson, D. Samuelson, J. Runyan|
|C||1||Above Ave||P. Kugler|
|NT||2||Urgent||B. Mone, B. Pallante|
|DE||2||Urgent||H. Poggi, L. Marshall|
|LB||4||Above Ave||M. McCray, C. Winovich, N. Furbush,|
|CB||3||Above Ave||R. Dawson, J. Peppers, B. Watson|
Surprising areas of concern - DTs and RBs.
- I've been in the camp that this class is so small we don't need a RB. I was wrong. We have 1 - count him - 1 RB on the roster for 2017. You need 3 to account for injuries and competition. Due to small class size can only take 1 this year but we probably need 2 next year to account for 1 of those 3 not "hitting".
- Our DTs are loaded for 2015-2016. But they almost all go away by end of 2016. For some reason we were not recruiting this position under Hoke for the 2015 class. (Swim lanes Brady! Swim lanes!) Do we really want RS FR or true SO starters on the interior of the line? It's not ideal - we've been overpowered there so often the past 2 years. We need a 2015 DT who will be a true JR or RS SO in 2017. And the 2016 class of DTs - probably 3 of them - will be primary backups even as true SO or RS FR. This all assumes Mone doesn't blow up the next 2 years and goes pro. In that case, well it gets worse.
Major areas of concern - S and DE, CB*
- No surprise on the DEs. With the misses of Hand, McDowell (who is probably more of a DT down the road), and now Roseboro we are thin in 2015 (4 DEs on roster), and very thin in 2016 (3). An urgent need for both the 2015 AND 2016 recruiting classes.
- S is scary. Again boggling why we stopped recruiting Montae Nicholson. At this point Kinnel is starting in 2017 no matter how good he is and his running mate at the other S is a blank space. If we don't have room for a 2nd safety in 2015 it will be a true SO or RS FR from 2016's class next to Kinnel - ugh. Assuming Kinnel is not a miss. And those 2 guys will be backed up by solely class of 2016 guys in 2017. The first solution coming to mind is "convert some corners" - well we don't have any to convert - we are thin at corner too!
- CB* - I am placing this here because of the increased reliance on 3 CB defensive sets... and Peppers. If Peppers leaves for the NFL you basically have 2 CBs - Brandon Watson and Reon Dawson. For 3 spots (incl a nickelback). That math doesn't work. We need 5 to account for flameouts and injuries. We will be young herein 2017 - again.
Hate to say it but some attrition in the next few weeks would do the balance of the depth chart between years some good in the long term.
Ignoring names here is what is most urgent in the 2015 class in the remaining 6 slots. I am creating an "up to" 9 slots for an "up to" 15 person class, assuming "up to"3 attritions from here. I mean we are not going to say no to Clark and TE is a need but in the big picture unfortunately we have needs even greater than TE (not that TE is not a need, we only have 2 of those in 2017)
- S #2 (S #1 is Kinnel)
- DE #1 (was Roseboro)
- DT #1
- CB #1 (was Taylor or Crawford)
- RB #1 (was Weber)
- LB #1 (was Kirkland Jr)
- CB #2 (was Taylor or Crawford)
- DE #2
- Best available player - Clark
*No room for a 2nd OG - this means Dawson, Samuleson Runyan are your only choices for 2 starters in 2017 unless we have a RS FR starting from the 2016 class. Not preferred.
*No room for a 2nd LB to provide competition and account for injuries and flameouts. So the 2016 LBs - true SO or RS FR will be at minimum key backups. People want to convert Furbush to fix the DE issue but we have a LB issue too - 4 guys for 3 slots.
*No room for a center so if Kugler is a flameout or is hurt not sure what we do here - you would normall say "convert a guard" but we only will have 3 of those so it's a class of 2016 RS FR or true SO backing up Kugler.
*No room for a FB on a manball team. In theory you could get a walkon in 2015 but for now it's Shallman backed up by a class of 2016 FB in 2017.
The curse of the 2010 class continues to haunt us.