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How DJ Durkin is approaching his first spring practice with Maryland football

After Maryland's spring practice on Tuesday, Durkin discussed his approach.

DJ Durkin met with former Maryland receiver Stefon Diggs at the Terps' basketball game against Illinois last week.
DJ Durkin met with former Maryland receiver Stefon Diggs at the Terps' basketball game against Illinois last week.
Sung Min Kim/Testudo Times

The Maryland football program had its first spring practice on Monday and its second on Tuesday.

After the second session of the 15 the Terps will hold over the next few weeks, Maryland head coach DJ Durkin met with media members and took a whole lot of questions on his approach to building the team during this highly unique period in the college football season. There's some coachspeak, but there's some interesting stuff, too.

Durkin said he crafted the Terps' spring depth chart entirely from the weight room, not from past performances. (The Terps' new strength coach is ex-Mississippi State coach Rick Court, who'd worked with Durkin at Bowling Green.)

"We determined it solely off the winter workouts. We looked at the guys who we thought were doing the best and providing a great work ethic. It had nothing to do with whether they were a senior or a freshman. It was solely based on how, since I've been here, how they've conducted themselves."

Durkin is watching his players with almost a dozen cameras, even in practice.

"We are evaluating every single thing they do. We at any time, have about 8-10 cameras on that field. We are looking at everything they do, evaluating everything they do and making changes accordingly. There's a lot that has changed from day one to day two. We just practiced yesterday morning and there's a lot that changed today. We look at if there is any mental fatigue that they display. I want them to know that practice is important, what they do is being put on their resume and they have to make the reps count."

Shane Cockerille, a quarterback-turned-fullback-turned quarterback again, is still playing QB this spring. He's part of a mix with Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe at the position this spring, and Durkin singled out Hills for offseason praise.

"It's always hard to evaluate the quarterbacks because of the timing and everything else going on while learning the offense.  So we'll evaluate that as we go. I think that Perry Hills had a very good offseason. He showed that he's a leader and a tough guy. I think that is an important part of the position that isn't really talked about. I think that all those guys are tough. Caleb (Rowe) does a really good job and Shane (Cockerille) is in there too. They all are going to get reps and show what they can do."

Durkin was a little vague about how he can make the Terps different than they were last year.

"You focus on things in the coaching room. You look at both the big things and little things. We were a much better today than yesterday. Those things carry over and we just have to really coach them on technique. We have to teach urgency and learn what it means to play hard."

Schematically, Maryland is still green.

"I think that the limitations are more with scheme than how you do things. They are going to learn how we do things, there is no compromise about that. They are going to learn how we practice, how we meet, how we work out. Scheme-wise, it's our job as coaches to adopt the right scheme that fits our guys."

Durkin sounds open to changing players' positions, but nothing has happened yet. 

"That is something I've done that has worked in the past. If there is someone on offense who we think can help on defense, we are going to try that. If there is a guy on defense we think who can help us on offense, we are going to try that. That is something that we will evaluate as we go on. Right now, everyone is where they are and trying to learn how to be a leader in the spring. Once everyone starts to get comfortable, then we'll start to make some of those changes if we want to."