Nervous Bird

August 27th, 2018 at 5:26 PM ^

Coach Harbaugh has generally taken the high road when speaking of opposing coaches and programs. Now, if they fire one across our bow, he fires back. But, unprompted shots are not a part of Coach Harbaugh's public persona. I respect that.

Nervous Bird

August 27th, 2018 at 6:01 PM ^

It's the high road because it didn't happen when Durkin was on Coach Harbaugh's staff. To comment on it happening at Maryland could be construed as taking a shot at his former assistant and at the Maryland program. Coach Harbaugh has no direct knowledge of the potential player abuse at Maryland. Why inject himself into a controversy that's not of his making, and that doesn't immediately affect his team?


August 27th, 2018 at 7:54 PM ^

The question the reporter posed was about bully coaching, so Peppers' comments on the subject are at the very least relevant if not dispositive. I'll explain a little more of my position (not nearly as contrary or antagonistic to your own as you seem to think) in a response a little further down the thread.


August 27th, 2018 at 10:13 PM ^

Peppers also said he was shocked by some of the things going on at Maryland, with the clear implication that Durkin wasn't doing that stuff here. If you listen to the whole interview, Peppers was a lot more circumspect in his answer than the one "bully" line everyone latched on to. His point was Durkin was an asshole but not that he ever crossed the line at Michigan. 


August 27th, 2018 at 7:20 PM ^

Peppers said what happened, exactly?  He described Durkin's coaching style as bully coaching.  He also said he's as shocked as everyone else at what happened at Maryland.  He also mentioned not liking how "it went down" when Durkin left UofM before the end of the season.

Durkin did not establish culture at UM - he didn't have the authority, nor even the tenure to do so.  He created the culture at Maryland, and this culture led to his downfall.

As as Spartan, you have zero moral high ground, even if a mole hill of one existed in this case.



August 27th, 2018 at 7:58 PM ^

1. Yes, Peppers described Durkin's style as bully coaching. That's literally all I was pointing out. The reporter asking the question used (according to the account at the top of this thread) the same phrase, so I guess it makes Peppers' take on it relevant at the very least. I'm not drawing a single conclusion beyond that, nor will you see me do so.


2. The point about Durkin being the head man at Maryland and being responsible for the culture from the top down is valid.


3. Suggesting that I have "zero moral high ground" to discuss the issue like an adult, with other fellow adults who might Give A Shit About Stuff, because I went to MSU, is fucking absurd and a child's take. I'm not (nor have I ever been) in the administration at MSU, athletic or otherwise. I'm just an alum. Please, put your big boy pants on and try to have a discussion without letting stupid rivalry feelings render you incapable.


August 27th, 2018 at 11:38 PM ^

I was generally impressed with the level of disgust the Spartans I knew had for the way the administration handled just about everything.

Heartbreak at what happened. Disgust at the response. Eventual anger. Continuing bouts of outrage and helplessness. The entire spectrum pretty much. 


August 28th, 2018 at 9:42 AM ^

No complaints here about what you're saying.  We'd be the worst sort of hypocrites if we were to take the position that Durkin's role at Michigan is somehow immune to scrutiny or critical analysis.  The fact that Peppers views Durkin as a bully coach based on his time with the man is something we should take seriously.  You also seem to recognize that Peppers' view is only one data point among many and that the nature of Durkin's role at Michigan wouldn't necessarily have revealed the behavior for which he is now accused.  

If we -- the collective we, as college football fans -- are going to effect change in the collegiate football culture, it will be by our willingness to turn a critical gaze on our own beloved schools and, where necessary, speaking out and ending our support for programs that cross the line.  

I genuinely believe Michigan is different -- that if we were to find ourselves with a coach that has done what Joe Paterno or Urban Meyer did (to name two examples), the University would fire him and most alumni/students/fans would support the decision.  I also believe Harbaugh is a good guy who runs a clean program.  But Michigan won't be different and better, as we aspire to be, if we don't sometimes ask hard questions and listen to the answers.


August 27th, 2018 at 6:37 PM ^

First off: Peppers said that Durkin was extreme and a bully coach at Michigan. That puts Michigan squarely in the middle of this discussion.

Secondly: Who gives a shit if anyone thinks he's taking a shot at Durkin? Durkin probably deserves it, and if he's clarifying about whether a similar situation happened at Michigan no one in their right mind would say he's taking a shot at Durkin. And even if he did, once again, Durkin probably deserves it so who cares.

Thirdly: He may not have direct knowledge about what happened at Maryland. But considering, once again, it's his former assistant who was at Michigan immediately before Maryland, it's relevant to discuss whether it happened here and that is something Harbaugh should comment on.

Saying the high road is attempting to "not take a shot" at an abusive former assistant while also ignoring player safety is bass ackwards.

Nervous Bird

August 27th, 2018 at 7:20 PM ^

Are you just being disagreeable, here? Coach Harbaugh said "no" when asked if he felt Durkin's coaching was similar while at Michigan. What are you looking for here? Durkin obviously became more aggressive once he was the man in charge. 

Peppers stated that he was shocked by what happened at Maryland. He categorized Durkin's coaching style as "bully" coaching. Hell, we can say that about every coach! I remember Harbaugh cursing out Wilton Speight on the video they showed from Real Sports. Abusive language is the norm in coaching circles. But, neither Harbaugh, Patridge, nor Peppers have spoken of witnessing PLAYER abuse while Durkin was at U of M. 

I don't know what you want from Coach Harbaugh concerning these scandals, but I'm fine with him not injecting himself into every college scandal that comes up. 


August 28th, 2018 at 9:57 AM ^

"Bully coaching" is subject to interpretation, but Peppers clearly didn't mean that every coach was a bully.  He meant exactly the opposite -- that Durkin's behavior was different from what he sees with other coaches, and he used "bully" to summarize this distinction.  

But you're correct that he never said he observed or even suspected player abuse while at Michigan.  If anything, that may speak to the quality of the program Harbaugh runs: even when Michigan employed an assistant coach who we now know would have crossed critical lines of decency and player safety if he could have, no one to date has ever said they observed behavior of that sort at Michigan.  It's highly probable that Durkin had to keep his worst instincts hidden while at Michigan.

I also agree that Harbaugh's "no" answer is sufficient at this point in time.  As you point out, any elaboration would inject Michigan into a crisis that, based on what we know right now, has nothing to do with Harbaugh or Michigan.


August 27th, 2018 at 9:50 PM ^

What exactly do you think would happen if Harbaugh said anything about Durkin? Do you think it might possibly detract from the team? From the focus? Perhaps create a media storm of speculation? Turn a single question into a season long investigation? 

If Jim has reservations or concerns regarding DJ Durkins time at Michigan, the place to air those grievances is inside Schembechler Hall and with University administration - not to a media reporter. Pretty sure the entire program took a long hard look at Durkins time at Michigan and have implemented protections to prevent that from happening at UofM. I know some of the Michigan medical staff and it would be quite astounding to have what happened at Maryland happen here. That being said, all the coaches are quite aware of heat stroke, rhabdomyolysis, and severe dehydration. And the support staff is always present. 

I think as a community, the outrage is expected - but just because Jim doesn’t delve into it during a press conference does not mean he is oblivious or doesn’t care. 


August 27th, 2018 at 5:43 PM ^

I would prefer to think of it as making sure he doesn't create controversy in the Michigan program when none exists.

Although I would preferred him to answer the question on Durkin's actions while coaching at Michigan. Those actions I guess are irrelevant as Durkin hasn't been at Michigan in over two seasons.


August 27th, 2018 at 6:26 PM ^

Is it wrong to hope that a dart of radioactive testosterone and amphetamines hits him in the jugular during the press conference and he turns into a raging blue monster? 


August 27th, 2018 at 7:38 PM ^

Did folks watch the presser?  Not good body language.  It appears Saturday’s scrmmage was really rough and key guys may have been dinged up.  Hoping nothing major among the starters but body language from Harbaugh was not great. 


August 27th, 2018 at 8:50 PM ^

One of our most prominent former players claims a coach who reported to Harbaugh and who is now about to lose his job for having a player die on his watch. I don’t think it would be bad for Harbaugh to make a statement. 


August 27th, 2018 at 10:31 PM ^

I don't follow.  So, does every coach who Durkin ever worked for need to craft a statement?  I mean, this isn't a good look for Meyer at all... his silence on Durkin is deafening. 

Muschamp was Durkin's boss longer than Harbaugh.  What's his take?  I can't imagine that Will Muschamp could call ANYONE a bigger "bully coach" than Will F'ing Muschamp.

Notre Dame had him in 2003-2004, what do they think?

Durkin failed because something very bad happened on his watch, due, in part, to a culture of machismo he fostered, and he handled the situation in the worst way.  He clearly lacked the moral fiber/leadership/judge-of-character to be a head coach. But Jim Harbaugh did not make him the head coach of Maryland. 

It's a BIG leap from coordinator to head coach;  COO to CEO; platoon leader to company commander.  I cannot understand what an "acceptable" statement from any former boss might be in this case.