Big Ten Conference Football Media Days

Tuesday July 26, 2016

DJ Durkin


THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Maryland head coach, DJ Durkin.

COACH DURKIN: It's great to be here, an honor to be here and part of the Big Ten Conference. This is one of those events every year you mark on your calendar. And it means the start of football -- you get that feeling in your stomach that it's time to get ready, the greatest time of the year. We'll all be starting practice in the coming days, and this day kind of marks that time, at least for me.

I want to take a moment and thank you all for what you do. I think in many ways as coaches, players, everyone in our sport, we have definitely benefited from the job you all do, the amount of attention, media coverage that we get as a sport, as a conference.

It's been amazing and definitely really helped our sport in many, many ways. So I want to thank you for that. And also want to say it's good now to be, at least so far in the interviews and things I've been a part of, to talk about football as opposed to satellite camps. It's good to get moving and talk about some things that way and move off that topic.

So today's been great so far. At the University of Maryland there's a lot of great things going on right now in and around College Park, our president, Dr. Loh, has done an unbelievable job of just developing and there's projects going on. If you drive around our campus there's cranes and shovels on the ground everywhere you look.

And one of the biggest parts for us in particular is the Cole project, Cole Field House, home of Maryland football. Anyone who has driven by campus, will be there this season. You'll see that's underway and it's going to house all our indoor facilities and all of our meetings, workouts where our players will eat, study, everything.

It's going to be second to none, state of the art. And we're really excited about that. That's a great part for our program.

And just when you look at it our administration, our athletic director, Kevin Anderson, our associate athletic director, Damon Evans, on down have been unbelievable to me and our staff, our players throughout the entire transition, and kind of the start of the new of our program. And those guys have been incredibly supportive and like I said with the facility as well as all the little things that go in day in, day out in a program.

So I'm extremely excited about the staff we're able to put together. There's a lot said about it. You look at the experience level of the guys and their accomplishments professionally, I think that kind of speaks for itself. I think it only tells a little bit of a story of the group of men we've been able to put together and guys that are just great people, great family men. They relate well with kids and kids on our team and kids in recruiting and their families and people that are just about the right things.

So I think you are only as good as the people you're around. We've assembled a great coaching staff I'm very excited about. And part of this transition, this process with our players, we've kind of flipped their world upside down and doing a lot of things differently and difficult on them. And I think they've done a tremendous job responding. We've got a tremendous amount of feedback from our players and just how they've responded and done well.

So it's a lot to be excited about for us. The three young men we brought with us here today, I think, anytime you have a lot of change, you need leadership to help you see that through, to help with the buy-in and help see that through with doing things differently.

And William Likely, Michael Dunn, Jermaine Carter, the guys we brought with us here today, they're here for a reason. They did a great job through that and it takes great leadership to do that.

That's where we're at. With that I'll open it up for questions.

Q. Seems like right away you had success recruiting in that deep area without naming names what's been the key to having that success in a pretty good high school football area?
COACH DURKIN: I think we're very fortunate to be -- our backyard I think is one of the most talent-rich areas in the country in terms of football recruiting. There's, year in, year out, there's great players. There's the guys recruited nationally as well as depth of players that I think you can put together a great program with.

So that's obviously been our priority. We're putting a lot of time and effort into that. I mentioned our coaching staff earlier. We have a lot of guys on our staff that have great ties and relationships in the area, in particular, and our staffs do an outstanding job as well as some of the guys we've been able to already recruit and get part of this class.

The players are recruiting other players. They're doing a good job recruiting each other. That's what this thing is all about and there's not a day in our building we don't spend a job on recruiting and that's a priority for us.

Q. What impact does UnderArmour have on your program?
COACH DURKIN: Great question. Hard one to measure or put in terms to answer. Kevin Plank is a guy that obviously takes a tremendous amount of pride in what he does and what he's a part of. And to see the growth and what he's done with his company, it's remarkable.

I don't think there's been any other company that's grown at such a rate and continues to grow in any line of business or industry. And so he also has a tremendous amount of pride in our program. He's a Terp. He played at Maryland. Was a great special teams player, a guy who went there as a walk-on and earned his scholarship. Like everything else in his life he's earned what he's got.

I think most importantly, I think the values of our program are in line with the values of UnderArmour. I think that's one of the coolest parts about it. It's a natural bond and allegiance with one another because it's easy. What we hold in high regard in our program, he holds in high regard in his program, in his business as well.

So I think it makes it an easy go that way. And obviously they're huge for us and have put our program on the map in many ways and we'll continue to do that and help us, and he's a valued personal friend of mine as well as to our program.

Q. Not a lot of coaches can say they've coached under both Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh, what's it like to be now in the same division as both of those guys?
COACH DURKIN: I've been very fortunate in my career to work under and along with the great coaches. Those obviously are two of many. As well as alongside a lot of great coaches.

I think obviously you learn things and take bits and pieces. As coaches we're always stealing stuff from other guys we've worked with or for.

And so that's been a tremendous benefit for me. Playing in the same conference is great, because you know there's always going to be focus and attention on what's going on in our conference and the games we're playing in and those guys, they bring the competitive level up as well.

So you talk about how they've changed the landscape of recruiting and just the level of football altogether. I think they've definitely improved that and brought it up in our conference. That's what you want to be part of. You want to be part of the highest level and the guys that coached at the highest level and they definitely stand for that.

Q. A lot's been made about Will Likely, obviously in the offseason. How important is he to the secondary? Do you see him playing offense at all this year?
COACH DURKIN: Will -- I think his play on the field. Will is a dynamic talent and dynamic player. He can do so many different things. I think his play probably speaks for itself. That's only scratching the surface of Will, the type of person he is. Will and I have gotten to know each other well over the past several months. He's one of the first guys I talked to when I got the job. And to visit with him -- he had a big decision on his plate whether to stay or move on, and obviously we feel he made the right decision. We're proud of him for that.

I think Will will be a guy that has involvement in all three phases of our game for sure. How much and to what those are all decisions we'll make as we work through camp here and decide what's best for our team and what he can handle. But he's a dynamic guy. I know from coaching the other sideline against Will, one of my biggest concerns or worries was when he had the ball in his hands.

So we definitely want to take advantage of that and use him to the best of our team's ability as much as we can.

Q. You've talked a lot about keeping open competition throughout the spring into the summer and into the fall. How big of an impact do you see the incoming freshman class having on the dynamic of your team?
COACH DURKIN: A big impact. We're not deciding things or setting things up based on who is a freshman, who is a senior, who is this or that. It's literally it's a competitive environment every day. We set practice up that way for a reason.

It's you earn what you get. Nothing's handed to you. So the biggest part for me, and our freshman have been there all summer working with us, and our older guys have done a great job embracing them and having them be part of the team. It's not someone has to pay their dues or put in a certain amount of time before they're part of the team. There's none of that. We're all a team. We're here together and we're going to compete with one another and make each other better at the end of the day and get the best guy out there on the field. I'm really excited about the freshman class. I think it's a deep class with talent and it's guys that I know have a the right mindset to come in and play and help us, and they're going to have that opportunity, and it will shake out on the field.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #188 at 2016-07-26 14:37:00 GMT

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