The Big Ten descended upon Chicago for the conference’s annual Media Days.
Durkin spoke about a variety of topics concerning the Maryland football program. Below is a transcript of his comments.
What’s been the key to having early success recruiting in the DMV?
“Our backyard is one of the most talent-rich areas in the country in terms of football recruiting. Year in and year out, there’s great players. There’s guys that are recruited nationally and a depth of players that you can build a program with. That’s obviously been our priority. We have a lot of guys on our staff that have great ties and relationships in the area in particular and our staff is doing an outstanding job. Some of the guys that we were already able to recruit and get as a part of this class, players are recruiting other players. They’re doing a great job recruiting each other. There’s not a day in our building that we don’t spend recruiting in our own backyard.”
What type of impact does Under Armour have on your program?
“Kevin Plank is a guy that takes a tremendous amount of pride in what he does and what he’s a part of. To see the growth and what he’s done with his company, it’s remarkable. I don’t think that there’s a company that’s grown at such a rate and continues to grow. He also has a tremendous amount of pride in our program. He’s a Terp. He played at Maryland and was a great special teams player. He was a guy that went there as a walk-on and earned his scholarship like everything else. He’s earned what he’s got. The values of our program are in line with the values of Under Armour. 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 business as well. I think it makes it easy that way. Obviously, they’re huge for us. They’ve put our program on the map in many ways and will continue to do that. He’s personal friend of mine and to the program.”
What’s it like to now coach in the same division as Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh?
“I’ve been very fortunate in my career to work under a long list of great coaches. Obviously, you take bits and pieces as coaches. We’re always stealing stuff from other guys that we’ve worked with or for. That’s been a tremendous benefit for me. Playing in the same conference is great because there’s always going to be focus and attention on what’s going on in our conference and the games we’re playing in. Those guys bring the competitive level up as well. You talk about how they’ve changed the landscape of recruiting and football all together. I think they’ve definitely improved that in our conference and that’s what you want to be a part of. You want to be a part of the highest level and with the guys that coach at the highest level. They definitely stand for that.”
How important is Will Likely to the secondary and do you see him playing offense this year?
“Will is a dynamic talent. He can do so many different things. I think his play probably speaks for itself. That’s only scratching the surface with Will to the type of person that he is. We’ve gotten to know each other really well over the past seven months. He’s one of the first guys I met with and talked to when I got the job. He had a big decision on his plate whether to stay or move on. Obviously, we feel that he made the right decision and we’re proud of him for that. I think that Will will be a guy that has involvement in all three phases of our game. How much and to what will be decisions that will be made as we go through camp. We’ll decide what’s best for our team and what he can handle. He’s a dynamic guy. I know from coaching the other sideline against Will, one of the biggest concerns was when he had the ball in his hands. We definitely want to take advantage of that and use him to the best of our team’s ability.”
How big of an impact do you see the incoming freshman class having?
“A big impact. We’re not deciding things based on who’s a freshman and who’s a senior. It’s a competitive environment every day and we set it up that way for a reason. You earn what you get. Nothing is handed to you. It’s not someone has to pay their dues or put in a certain amount of time before they’re a part of the team. There’s none of that. We’re all a team. We’re going compete with one another and make each other better. At the end of the day, we’re going to get the best guy on the field. I’m really excited about our freshman class. It’s a deep class with talent. It’s guys that I know have the right mindset that can play and can help us. They’re going to have that opportunity and it’ll shake out on the field.”