Source Report Sources: Durkin to Maryland Comment Count

Brian December 2nd, 2015 at 1:58 PM

[Bryan Fuller]

In seemingly done but not official news that would have been way more disappointing last week:

I think we all assumed that Durkin would be a head coach sooner or later, but not after one year, and not in Michigan's division. At least Durkin gets away from Ohio State's offense, though. Yeah.

Unless there's an 11th-hour switch here, Michigan needs a new DC and/or a LB/DL coach. Mattison can handle either unit in the front seven and could get bumped back up to the main job; Greg Jackson might be a DC possibility as well—the job he and Zordich did with Michigan's DBs was terrific.

Steve Lorenz has three DC names to watch that includes a familiar name: former Michigan DC and Syracuse HC Scott Shafer. Shafer did get a really raw deal here the first time around.



December 2nd, 2015 at 2:48 PM ^

Meh. I'd rather get someone that actually wants to be here and isn't looking for his next job, oh I dunno, the week of the most important game of the season.

This year's defense had way more to do with our personnel than on his coaching, IMO. Once he didn't have the horses anymore, we got trounced 2 games out of 3 and PSU would have been worse if they actually kept running what was working for everyone else. Wormley, Hurst, Henry, Taco is still a DL that most teams would kill for and he couldn't make the necessary adjustments to let them succeed. In fact he didn't make any adjustments that I could see in either of those games even when the opponent was running the same play over and over. Not to mention his positional unit (LBs) sucked all year and made zero improvement. 

Whatever, onward.


December 2nd, 2015 at 5:53 PM ^

Isn't it possible that he carved out an hour or two from his personal time to briefly talk to Maryland? It's not like he would even do most of the interaction personally. And if he spends 65 hours every week coaching, that still leaves some time to talk to other people.

It's possible that OSU was just a plain bad game. All coaches have them, you know--even guys like Urban and Saban.


December 3rd, 2015 at 8:35 AM ^

He's interviewing for the next big step in his career. I highly doubt it only took an hour of his time, and that it wasn't a huge distraction even aside from the actual time he dedicated to the interview.

I'm not saying it's the reason his gameplan sucked, but when you do something like that and then shit the bed, I don't think it's unreasonable for people to attribute it to cause and effect.

Robbie Moore

December 2nd, 2015 at 5:58 PM ^

Jim Harbaugh was hired as the head coach of the Stanford Cardinal in December 2006. As part of his coaching staff, he hired Shafer as the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Harbaugh was quoted as saying Shafer being "one of the most creative and innovative defensive minds in college football."[9] 

Now...unless Shafer burned a bridge by leaving Stanford after one year to go to Michigan, or he and Harbaugh didn't get along, then I think this may be a viable candidate.


December 2nd, 2015 at 3:07 PM ^

So, how did the very best D-Coord in all of CFB do on his final exam this year?


LoL ... methinks our 2016 DL roster alone will attract a number of HIGHLY qualified candidates for his seat.  All of that back plus Mone and maybe plus Rashan Gary.  Is there a 'licking chops' emoticon around here?


December 2nd, 2015 at 6:57 PM ^

Yes, most likely anyone will be a downgrade. Durkin was at the top of the game and we had the #1 defense in college football with a first year coach before losing Glasgow. Remember how good Florida's defense was, too. There are other elite DCs out there, but he is one of the best, and it will be hard to get another stud of that caliber.


December 2nd, 2015 at 3:44 PM ^

Michigan up and running under the Harbaugh regime, and then, wham, your primary Sunbelt recruiter is gone. It's not necessarily a nice day to start again. But start again, the new regime must. Harbaugh may go NFL network to get his next DC, somebody with college in his background but with pro experience.

Any guys on his current staff coud ably fill in.

But the loss of Durkin in the recruiting field is just such a hardship at this point.


December 2nd, 2015 at 2:32 PM ^

We've had 3 head coaches since 2009-2010. Multiple changes to staff in that time frame. I just want a solid group to stay together for 4+ years. The idea of the defense learning a potentially new scheme/techniques when a majority of the returners will be seniors sounds terrible to me.

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December 2nd, 2015 at 2:41 PM ^

Listen, this is the way it's gonna be - Harbaugh's past assistants have had so much success in their subsequent positions that anyone who appears to stand out will be highly sought after. I think we'll be lucky if Durkin is the only coach we lose...

Fisch could be an OC candidate & G. Jackson a DC candidate at the pro or college levels with their experiences, maybe Drevno a HC in the not too distant future. There will be no real "continuity" due to Harbaugh's eye for talent.


December 2nd, 2015 at 3:51 PM ^

in Columbus under Meyer. And he just seems to plug and play. The same with Dantonio who lost Narduzzi and now is on the verge of making the college playoff field. We will almost certainly lose Drevno and Jedd Fisch off this staff. In fact, I figured those guys would be the first to go, not Durkin. But it was the defense that shined this year.

Not sure how schematically Michigan is impacted by this change as well. This change is more than just about recruiting. Curious, if Durkin would leave before the bowl game. Probably.


December 2nd, 2015 at 2:01 PM ^

Doubt UM gets him, but take a run at Pruitt. Or hell, Venables, but that probably just gets him a raise. The main concern here is how it affects UM's recruiting. This is supposed to be a pivotal class for UM. Lots of high impact D prospects still on the board.

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December 2nd, 2015 at 2:02 PM ^

...pre-OSU game.  That's a lot of stock to put into one game, but I'm not sure that's inappropriate in the case of a blowout loss to a rival. 

We knew he'd get a head coaching job sooner rather than later.  And Harbaugh will be able to pull in a top guy as a replacement.


December 2nd, 2015 at 2:49 PM ^

Michigan lost Glasgow, Ojemudia, and (effectively) Godin from the DL.  That's 3 starters (Godin was listed at OR with Wormley before getting hurt) leaving Michigan with just 4 playable guys on the DL against one of the best offenses in college football.

In hindsight, yeah it didn't work out great, but that's what happens when you're grasping at straws for personnel.  They tried a creative solution to a major problem. It worked for about a half and then fell apart.  It's understandable albeit disappointing.

The rest of the year the D coaching was borderline spectacular. That matters a lot more.  Michigan had some very obvious personnel deficiencies (no edge rusher, weak at LB, dodgy at 2nd CB) that Durkin papered over for 90% of the year.  When the DL depth disappeared things fell apart a bit but Indiana and Ohio State do that to people.


December 2nd, 2015 at 3:44 PM ^

Michigan had already surrendered 160+ yards to Barrett and Elliott by halftime, though.  And they still had Hurst, Wormley, Henry, Charlton (who I realize was also at BUCK in a sense), Strobel, and Pallante.  I'm also not 100% sure Godin was unable to play, because played against Indiana, though I imagine he would have seen a few snaps against OSU if it had been possible.  

I know having to rotate in Strobel, Pallante, and a wounded Godin is far from ideal.  But the three LB set they were running was far from ideal too - and it was gashed quickly by OSU.

Michigan also didn't use its safeties much to help in run support.  Steve Sharik posted a chart the other day showing how Michigan did v. the run when it was down a man in the box (or not), and the difference was enormous.

Anyway, I don't mean to say Durkin is anything less than an excellent - even elite - DC.  But I do mean to say that he's not irreplaceable in my eyes and that the OSU game is part of the reason for that. 


Here is Steve's chart:

# SNAPS 13 2 18 9 31 11
YARDS 145 1 158 30 303 31
AVG 11.15 0.5 8.78 3.33 9.77 2.82
MED 6.00 0.5 9 6 7 2



December 2nd, 2015 at 4:02 PM ^

emptied the playbook defensively trying to compensate for lack of personnel up front. There was nothing that could have solved the man on man issues Michigan faced against OSU whether they brought the safety down from single high support where he was no help in the run game. Michigan played man because that's what they ran all year. They would have been better off running zone but the hat difference was always even or less when the Buckeyes ran their triple option offense, check with me after seeing Michigan's alignment. You either deal with this with athletes or with some exotic alignments. And Michigan didn't have the athletes or the wherewithal to run the alignments that would make the Buckeyes change their gameplan. That wasn't on Durkin, that was just the way it is with what Michigan had and did against them.


December 2nd, 2015 at 4:11 PM ^

But it seems Michigan was able to stop OSU when they had enough men in the box.  I'm sure it's not just that easy - that game was going to be tough no matter what.  But the Wolverines seemingly had an answer that worked that they chose not to use frequently.

It's probably worth me noting here too that the quesiton of Durkin's culpability in the OSU game is no more less than the difference between him being - in my mind - arguably the best DC in the country or instead "merely" excellent.