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The case for D.J. Durkin as Maryland's next head football coach

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The Michigan defensive coordinator has a clear set of skills, but those skills might not be what Maryland seeks.

Durkin is in his first year as defensive coordinator at Michigan after four seasons coaching at Florida.
Durkin is in his first year as defensive coordinator at Michigan after four seasons coaching at Florida.
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Over the coming weeks and months, the Maryland football program will search for a new head coach to replace the departed Randy Edsall. We know (roughly) who the candidates are, but who should Maryland pick? We'll state every coach's case, whether he wants the job or not, in 500 words or fewer.

D.J. Durkin, Michigan defensive coordinator

Possibility scale: 4/10

The resume

Durkin was a four-year starter at defensive end and linebacker for Bowling Green from 1997-2000 before serving as a graduate assistant there from 2001-2002 and at Notre Dame from 2003-2004.

He got his first coaching job in 2005 as Bowling Green's defensive line coach and quickly moved up to linebackers coach/special teams coordinator a season later.

He's currently leading a successful defense in his first year at Michigan after spending four seasons at Florida, serving as defensive coordinator for the last two. Before that, he was an assistant coach under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford. In his two seasons as defensive coordinator at Florida, Durkin's defenses ranked 15th and eighth in the nation in S&P+, and his Wolverines lead the country in that category so far this season. (You can read more about Michigan's success this season here.)

He's now coached under Harbaugh twice, and the fact that Harbaugh sought him out for his current position can only be a good sign for Durkin's abilities.

The benefits

While Maryland's offense has been noticeably horrible this season, the team's defense has quietly been doing OK. The Terps currently rank 40th in defensive S&P+, and will be probably be returning an improved defense next season, with the possible exception of Yannick Ngakoue. They'll probably get David Shaw, Adam McLean and Abner Logan back from injury, while they will only be graduating three members of the secondary, all of whom have struggled this season. Durkin would have a lot to work with on that front, and he'd have Dwayne Haskins and an improved offense too.

The drawbacks

As we've previously noted in this series, Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson is looking for a "wide-open offense," and hiring a defensive coordinator wouldn't necessarily satisfy those needs. Ever since he became a coach, Durkin's held positions exclusively on the defensive side of the ball. His only experience coaching any sort of offense came when he was Florida's interim head coach for last season's Birmingham Bowl, which the Gators won 28-20.

In one sentence

Durkin looks like one of the top defensive coordinators in the country, but his lack of experience coaching on offense – or a desire not to recruit against his old boss – might put him out of contention for Maryland's head coaching job.