Fall Camp Presser 8-24-15: DJ Durkin Comment Count

Adam Schnepp August 25th, 2015 at 11:30 AM


[Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]

What's the status of Bryan? Can you comment on Bryan Mone at all?
“Yeah, Bryan is a great kid and a great player for us. We really like him.”
If he’s not able to play how does that affect how you use Hurst? Do you use him more at the nose tackle spot?

“A great thing about our team right now, when you go through camp, is that we’re building depth at all positions. That's what this time of year is for is find where we’re strongest at and where our depth is and so I think across the board you've done a good job of that. We've developed some guys and we've got depth at all positions.”
So how do you expect to use Hurst then?
“Mo Hurst? Mo is definitely part of that depth up front and he can play all the spots too. Really he can play inside [or] outside, so he's a guy we’re counting on. He'll play a lot for us.”
What were some of the positives that you took away from Saturday as far as the defensive line is concerned?
“I think it was good. I think the biggest thing is probably that was the first time we were out with crowd noise and it was good seeing them communicate on their own. You know, coaches, we like to– either you're standing out and you cheat a little bit, you're yelling and you're kind of helping the guys out because you're into it, and we weren't able to do that. That was the first time they were out there on the field on their own, no one out there helping them make checks, and they really communicated well and for the most part were assignment-sound.”
What's the most interesting thing you’ve learned about your secondary in these last 2 1/2 weeks?
“The best part is we’ve been finding out the competitors, because there's good competition back there and we've put them in a bunch of spots where they’ve got to show up. And they know its competition. We've moved guys around a little bit and so I think it's been great. You find out the guys who really thrive in that type of environment.”
What do you like most about your defensive front?
“I think just their work-type mentality: blue-collar. We've brought it every day. This has been a tough camp, and they've responded every day. I mean, they've been locked in in meetings and done well on the field. There've been a few instances where I could say it wasn't that type of mentality, but really when you look at the whole grand scheme of camp they really brought it. They've done great.”

[After THE JUMP: I ask about the secondary and someone asks about Freddy Canteen. Also Jabrill, because there’s always a question about Jabrill]

MGoQuestion: Who are some of the guys you've moved around in the secondary?
“It's really more a question of who haven't we. We've tried to find out – you know, we like to play multiple packages on defense so we're trying to find out who can do what right now. This is the time to find it. You go through a season and you get a guy banged up or something, you want to know that a certain guy that may be playing corner can play safety or vice versa so we've bounced them all around. We're shuffling that and now getting closer to honing in on who's playing where.”
How has Chris Wormley looked the last few weeks?
“He's done really well. Worm’s a guy who has played some end, played some tackle; he's got that skill set and for a big guy, a 300 pounder, he moves really well, so we’ll use him for both. He can do those things for us.”
How close are you to having guys settled into the roles where you want them?
“Getting there. We're getting there. We’re really starting to get into the game week and into Utah prep, so as you're doing that with the game plan you start to hone guys in on what they're focusing on. So we're getting to that point as a staff.”
Is this a little later in the process than you normally get there if you had been here for a while?
“No, I think it gets stale. You're working on one thing for so long, I think the preparation get stale. Our main thing is to focus on us and getting better. Going good-on-good and getting full-speed looks and now you’re into a game week before a game week right now.”
As far as guys settling into their roles, is this later in the year than you would normally have that?
“I think it helps guys learn the defense. I think it helps with versatility. I think you're really not thinking well if you think you can make it through a season and not have guys injured and have to move guys a little bit. Now's the time to find who has the ability to do it both mentally and physically, and that's all we're trying to do.”
Camps are tough to get through and there's a lot of hard work involved, but can you feel the excitement building now, since a week from tomorrow you'll be on a plane going out to the game?
“Yeah, our guys, they enjoyed practicing together, playing together– they enjoy one another. It's been good, definitely. As you get into the middle of camp there's no light at the end of the tunnel. I think they’re starting to get that now and we're starting to back off a little bit, like I said, getting Utah prep, and I think they're ready to go.”
Who are some of the guys who have really evolved as pass rushers for you?
“Up front it's been good bouncing guys around. I think we mentioned Mo Hurst earlier; I think he's really helped us inside. Wormley is a guy who can play both inside and outside. Mario [Ojemudia]– he's doing a great job on the edge for us, so I think all those guys right there. Willie Henry is another who can help us both inside and outside. I think we’re versatile up front. I think we’re deep up front, and that's going to help us do several different things.”
Have you talked with these guys about the elevation difference at all? Has that been a topic of conversation?
“Yeah, it has, but there's nothing, other than talking to them about it, that you can do to prepare them for it.”
Is there anything extra that goes into conditioning or do you guys feel like it's even going to be an issue at all?
“Yeah, it's one of those things you've got to be aware of and prepare for. We’ve conditioned well all summer and we’re conditioned at the end of practices, so I think coach Tolbert and his staff did a great job with our guys.”
Allen Gant is in the mix at outside linebacker. Has he looked good the last few weeks?
“Yeah, Allen's had a good camp. He's done a good job at the outside backer spot for us. He's continued to improve. He had a good spring and he built on that through camp, so he's definitely a guy that you'll see that can help us.”
How has Peppers distinguished himself this camp?
“Jabrill is, as always – he brings it every day. He's one of the hardest workers on the team and he's very talented. There's a lot of things he can do to help our team. It's a matter of us figuring out where we need him most and where the best spots are for him to help us. But he's been great. He's been practicing every day and doing a great job.”
Has that changed practice-to-practice and day-to-day where you think the best spot is for him?
“No, it's just an ongoing discussion amongst the staff. He's great about whatever we ask him to do he goes and does it and does it 100 miles an hour. Doesn't ask why or how or what about that, he just goes and does it and he's very talented.”
As a coach, what's the residual effect of this bunker mentality?
“I think it's really brought our team together. We've only been with one another all day every day. There really hasn't been breaks in the action for them either. We're over here in this building all day. If we're not practicing we're meeting or we’re walking through or doing something together, coaches and players alike. I think it really has brought everyone closer together.”

Is there any kind of message that it delivers, whether that be to the players or the outside or whomever?

“I think that, what I just said, that’s the message of it. We’ve got one another and we’re in this together and you’ve got to be accountable.”

Have you ever been a part of anything like that? The submarine talk, the bunker mentality, have you ever been part of something like this at a prior job?

“Every camp you go to this time of year is somewhat similar, but no, nothing- it’s been unique to any other experience in a positive way.”

What’s the most unique thing about it? What’s stood out most to you?

“Coach Harbaugh really is always thinking outside the box. I think he’s always on the cutting edge in the way he views things and does things, and so a lot of the ways we’re doing things is done differently here than anywhere else. Again, I think it’s all been positives. Our players have responded really well.”

Is Freddy Canteen working exclusively on defense?

“You know, we have a lot of guys that work both offense and defense, and like I said, we’re trying to find the best fit for everyone as a team. That’s what this time of year’s for and why we’re doing it.”



August 25th, 2015 at 11:49 AM ^

It seems like this staff is beefing up at defensive line and counting on that to free up the LBs and DBs to make plays. There's a lot of talk of big guys playing end -- Wormley, Hurst, Henry, etc..


August 25th, 2015 at 12:48 PM ^

are defscabbers. A defscabber is someone who defines something by its generally understood description. For example, Drevno and Durkin are asked about the positives you can take away from Saturday's Big House practice, and in response they note that the positives have really been good. 

Really. How about the depth? Yeah, you know we're building depth. And all those who can rush the passer,  like Wormley, Ojemudia, Henry and Hurst, Oh yeah, those guys can work inside or outside, they give us the kind of depth so we can use a bunch of different packages. With this kind of knowledge, why bother looking at the depth chart. 

What other insights? So how's the competition been? Well, it's really been competitve. We compete everyday and with that competition you get a real good feel for which guys will thrive in real competition. 

So, are you close to deciding on your starters? Well, no, we're still competing. OK, thanks very much. When will you announce them, probably sometime before gametime, whenever it becomes, you know, necessary to do so. Gee, thanks a lot. 


SirJack II

August 25th, 2015 at 1:09 PM ^

This moaning about what coaches choose to tell and not tell reporters is absurd. Ultimately, who cares what he says in response to questions like "how's the competition been?" What's a good answer to that? The question begs for tautology. Why should we expect to know who they're going to start and when they're going to do it. We'll find out in a matter of days either way, so who cares? They do these pressers not because they're eager to let everyone know about the program's inner workings, but because they have to, year in year out, always fielding the same type of questions, and thus always giving similar answers. There is very little say, however, but the press will keep coming day after day, we'll keep reading, and coaches will keep talking in generalities.


August 25th, 2015 at 1:48 PM ^

I agree with "readyourguard;" to me, everyone on the staff is using coachspeak so much that it reads like an SNL skit.  

Nobody from Utah is going to get anything that helps them prepare for Michigan this year.  I think it's brilliant.  While they may be able to watch old 49ers and Stanford tape, it probably isn't going to help much.


August 25th, 2015 at 12:02 PM ^

"Everyone looks good.  Peppers looks real good.  Everyone is working at multiple positions.  Nothing is settled."

Other than that, not much here.  Not that I expected anything different.  If you are having kids compete for every position, there's no sesne announcing who's winning too early. 


August 25th, 2015 at 12:17 PM ^

Hopefully, the submarine had a weapons locker with 3 or 4 katana blades. Never know when you'll need some fine Japanese steel for a learning exercise. 

Ball Hawk

August 25th, 2015 at 12:29 PM ^

Well at least the players he mentioned are still alive and well. Im glad to hear that they are getting there and getting ready for Utah. Sounds positive even if it's nothing but coach speak.


August 25th, 2015 at 12:31 PM ^

I know our players actually have to "play school" and I know we do have a department budget, but it'd be great if these guys could fly out on Saturday or Sunday instead of Tuesday. I feel like the extra few days to acclimate to the elevation would help.  I could easily see the Utes go into a hurry-up type of mode just to gas the heck out of our defense.



Great Lakes Pirate

August 25th, 2015 at 12:44 PM ^

I think the elevation difference likely won't make or break this game. If the players are in good condition (for high-level college athletes obviously, not just in general) they will adapt quickly and it won't feel that much different.

I was in Denver this May and played a couple games of pickup basketball. I didn't notice any real difference in fatigue. That's almost 1k additional feet of elevation, and I live in MI so I am at the same starting point essentially. Also, trust me when I say I am not a high level athlete, only athletic in a "dad-bod" kind of way. (I also stayed at a Holiday Inn Express recently, if that helps the validity of my apples-to-oranges comparison here)


August 25th, 2015 at 12:32 PM ^

“Yeah, Bryan is a great kid and a great player for us. We really like him.” 

Oh my god this refusal to talk about injured players is really getting on my nerves! I can't believe how stubborn and evasive Coach Durkin is being!!

/s, of course


August 25th, 2015 at 12:32 PM ^

Shocked "get after the quarterback" and "blitz" were not mentioned.  Regardless, beef on the line makes me happy and hopefully lets Durkin and Mattison get a little creative to confuse blocking schemes.


August 25th, 2015 at 12:32 PM ^

Nothing to see here. Coaching staffs change, but they all speak the same language during fall practice.

Give the guy credit, though..it's not easy to talk that much and say so little.

Ball Hawk

August 25th, 2015 at 12:32 PM ^

After his answer to the first question, I was almost about to stop reading the rest altogether. Really it's not surprising since we know how Harbaugh works and the whole submarine thing.


August 25th, 2015 at 12:43 PM ^

Well, it looks like there will be a defense this year and it will have players, many of whom are good and have shown versatility. Pretty much what I got from that interview.


August 25th, 2015 at 12:50 PM ^

doesn't see this quote.  Sounds like they could be going over the alloted amount of practice hours.


"We're over here in this building all day. If we're not practicing we're meeting or we’re walking through or doing something together, coaches and players alike."


August 25th, 2015 at 8:46 PM ^

NCAA Bylaw

Preseason Practice Daily and weekly hour limitations do not apply to countable athletically related activities occurring during preseason practice prior to the first day of classes or the first scheduled contest, whichever is earlier.


August 25th, 2015 at 12:59 PM ^

my friend's step-aunt makes $70 an hour on the computer . She has been without a job for 5 months but last month her pay was $18819 just working on the computer for a few hours. look at here
 .......>>>>>>...............  w­­w­­w­.o­n­l­i­n­e-j­­o­b­s­9­­.­c­o­­m


August 25th, 2015 at 1:10 PM ^

I agree it's a lot of coachspeak, but I think there's something going on here that the interviewers are mostly overlooking:

They're moving guys around not to figure out where they fit best, but to make them more versatile. This is a staff that recruits players that are athletic and versatile rather than just accomplished at their position. It's a staff that wants to see them field ground balls in practice. 

It sounds like they trust the players to learn the position, they're not worried about confusing them by challenging them to learn multiple positions. and they're more concerned with bringing out the great athlete in them. They're treating the players like a good team trying to become individually great players, not like a disfunctional bunch of guys trying to learn how to play football. That's either biting off more than this bunch can chew, or it's a really really good sign for this year. 


August 25th, 2015 at 8:22 PM ^

he said he likes the dline, everyone is versatile and can play multiple positions and they are deep. We know who the starting linebackers are, bolden Ross and Morgan, safeties Wilson and peppers and Lewis at CB. Really the only question is the other CB spot and who comes in on nickel packages. They said it's open but he also said they're slowing it down and getting ready for Utah. They know who the starters are. Offensive line seems set. TE is definitely set, WR's not really, RB not really QB, most likely. They're not saying oh we need more time to install, from what I heard they said they're ready to go for the most part. They both seemed pretty confident to me. I'm soooo ready, can't stand it!

Brick in The Wave

August 25th, 2015 at 5:26 PM ^

I have watched a lot of Wyoming games which I believe is the first or second highest stadium in the country, teams struggle in the first quarter then are fine.  

By the way I am talking altitude, by far the highest stadium I have ever seen is Colorado's those folks were blazed up good.


August 26th, 2015 at 9:27 AM ^

Why people get so hung up on the injuries thing. This is fairly common practice across the country. Some coaches choose to be more open and others don't.

Why do we feel so entitled to receive injury information?

Put yourself in a coaches shoes. There is no benefit for them to share injury information with you. You're not a doctor, you're not going to be working on the players.

Many coaches view sharing injury information as something that could give an advantage to their opponent. It's obviously small to non existent, but since there is no good reason to share the injury info with you they figure they would rather not take a chance.

It's really not that big of a deal.