OT: How well does Durkin have to do to move on from Maryland?

Submitted by Caesar on December 25th, 2017 at 3:14 AM

The former Michigan DC is doing some great work recruiting. He's in the hunt for the B1G's 4th best class (behind the usual suspects--OSU, PSU, and Michigan). Noteably, he looks close to flipping a 4 star running back from USC (YTUSC). 

How many wins will it take for blue bloods to take a chance on him? I don't think he's likely to win the B1G East in the next decade, but maybe consecutive 8-9 win seasons in the next few years with an upset against any one of the B1G East's top 3? 



December 26th, 2017 at 1:50 AM ^

Durkin had NFL players up and down that defense but couldn't stop, or even slow down, IU or OSU.  Not a ton of evidence that he was a good coach vs. just a guy that had really good players.

Granted, I would argue that 1) the ability to recruit and 2) the ability to identify and hire good coordinators are each as important as actual coaching acumen for a HC.  He seems to be recruiting pretty well at Maryland.  He hired a good OC.  Wonder how much he has to do with his own defense because he might need to take a step back from that side of the ball and delegate to a better DC. 

San Diego Mick

December 25th, 2017 at 4:43 AM ^

it's gonna be tough year in and year out for him to get double digit wins but if he can win 8 to 9 games including the bowl game a few times, people will come knocking.

And I disagree about him replacing Harbaugh should he leave, my instincts tell me he's not the guy.


December 25th, 2017 at 4:52 AM ^

Gotta love all the best recruiting schools in the same division along with the 2 star dynamo D'Antoni.  So great to watch Wisconsin get a pass every year to the Big championship game.


December 25th, 2017 at 6:53 AM ^

It can be... one of the few jobs with a super rich recruiting base...located near Baltimore and D.C. And sandwiched between Pennsylvania and Virginia. If you get the ball rolling, it will pick up a lot of momentum fast. And Virginia Tech is probably the only regional power there. Great opportunity for Durkin


December 25th, 2017 at 1:37 PM ^

This is almost what I was going to post, except that Penn State should be included as a regional power. When you look at the specific states there is no other major local school for MD and DC. That's a great base to start from. Also, its easy to compete with the locals in VA and NJ. Then you start to look at competition from PSU and maybe VT and the national powers.

Also, there is supposed to be an alum who is contemplating taking on the role that Nike's founder did at Oregon and Pickens has at OK State. (UnderArmour's founder , maybe)?


December 25th, 2017 at 8:04 AM ^

If he can keep a QB healthy for a couple of years, he'll get plucked by someone bigger.  But until then, he's going to be stuck in MD.  Problem is, if he keeps a QB for a year, UMD is going to be a pain in the ass on the field until he leaves.  Not a threat to win the division, but a threat in any given game.  He's a good coach - and Maryland loves him.


December 26th, 2017 at 1:59 AM ^

In his first year, his defense (per S&P+) was 79th in the country, despite it being 45th the year before.  This year it was worse at 83rd. 

Injured QBs don't excuse his defenses being awful, and that's his side of the ball. I'm not familiar with their personnel and it's possible the cupboard was bare for him, but that's a huge drop when you should improve a team if you're a good coach.

All we really know about him is that he had two great defenses at Florida but that was under Will Muschamp, who's a defensive guy (a good one at that) himself. Before that he was basically ST coach at a couple places.  Seems like it's a bit unclear as to whether he's a good coach, in terms of X's and O's.  He's definitely a good recruiter.  Hired a good OC.  We'll see about the rest.

Perkis-Size Me

December 25th, 2017 at 8:38 AM ^

I think he’s doing fine now considering how awful his injury luck has been at the QB position. If he can keep a QB healthy and keep recruiting well he’ll get another gig in the next couple of years.


December 25th, 2017 at 10:00 AM ^

Maryland as a football program is a bit of a paper tiger and it's the kind of place where a few things conspire against you.

Friedgen had some pretty good success not too long ago and that set a bar for what is doable at Maryland - probably an unfair one given that they weren't in the Big Ten East then - but this isn't the type of place where 6-7 wins keep you around perpetually or the type of place where people think 10 wins is out of reach.

But it's difficult to be consistently successful there because it's not a football school. I bet when Durkin took the job he did so because of the whole Under Armour "Oregon of the East" promise, but can that overcome the limitations of a fairly apathetic fanbase in a region where college football has never been a big deal? The D.C. market doesn't care much about local college football - it cares about the college football of the schools attended by all the people living there. You're more likely to find someone wearing Michigan gear than someone wearing Maryland gear in D.C.

There's a heck of a best case scenario for Maryland but there's also quite a few awful scenarios. I think these 3rd tier P5 conference jobs are quite risky because it's hard to get an eye-popping big run that makes you a 'hot name' the way you may do in the mid-majors.

Objectively speaking wining 21-22 games in 3 years at Maryland probably is pretty solid,  but it's not gonna get the boosters of some powerhouse program to roll out the red carpet out for you..

To be frank, I think Durkin needs to build up to one notable 10 win season there with a couple good wins (and to win 10 he'll need those anyway) and then get the heck outta there.


December 25th, 2017 at 11:03 AM ^

the least passioniate football fanbase in the conference.  Yes, behind the likes of Illinois, IU and Purdue.

This sounds crazy for those who haven't experienced it - but Byrd Stadium is more a place for Maryland alums to socialize and drink beer versus a place to watch football.  They sort of need to stop selling alcohol at Byrd (approved it there a few years ago).  Make football the main attraction.  Right now, it's not.

Durkin's recruiting well but I have a hard time being bullish on Maryland in the long-term.  I'd honestly be more bullish on Indiana.  As you said, MD has a number of things that conspire against them. 


December 25th, 2017 at 11:00 AM ^

...under HC Jim Tatum in 1947-1955 and won the National Championship in 1953.  Under Jerry Caliborne, they went 77-37-3 in 1971-1982.  Their record under Bobby Ross, during 1982-i1985, was 34-14.  So, it's been a while, but there has been some good football played at Maryland. 

In today's world, having to play OSU, PSU, MSU, and UofM every year just makes it very difficult for any coach to have fewer than four losses.  If a HC can average 7-5 over a 2-3 year period they would be doing a very good job.  8-4 or better would outstanding. 

If someone can consistently get Maryland to that level, I could see them being compared to Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin and Hayden Fry at Iowa and, like them, staying at the school for the rest of their career, to leave a memorable legacy.  I think that person would have to develop a 'culture' and 'system' that distinguishes their program from others, but I think it could be done.

Rambling Wolverine

December 25th, 2017 at 11:08 AM ^

If he goes 9-3 and/or 8-5 the next couple of years with a Bowl win, who comes calling to hire him?  Eliminating Big 10 teams who will need a head coach in two years?  There are lots of programs that would be a lateral transfer and about ten that would be a step up.

I imagine he will stay east of the Mississippi or no farther west than Texas.  I see him staying at Maryland a minimum of three more years no matter his record.

S'all Good Man

December 25th, 2017 at 12:09 PM ^

That we should take pride in Durkin's "success" at Maryland? He is 10-15 since arriving and his team lost their last game 66-3. He better be focused on keeping his current job.


December 25th, 2017 at 8:49 PM ^

A three year run of 24-12 gets him a better job otherwise he could do just fine at Maryland for many years although 8-4 looks kind of band after several years of it.


December 26th, 2017 at 3:32 AM ^

A winning record that included a couple of signature wins against the B1G East big boys and he moves on. He doesn't have to win 8, 9 or 10 games..but he needs a signature win or two within a decent record.