UM players happy D.J. Durkin realized his 'dream'

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
D.J. Durkin leaps after Jeremy Clark (34) makes an interception against Maryland.

Ann Arbor -- D.J. Durkin hasn't given Michigan a scouting report on Florida.

He's a tad busy these days, having just been named the head coach at Maryland.

"I knew it was his dream to be a head coach and this was just a step in the right direction," Michigan defensive end Chris Wormley said. "He's gonna have a great opportunity to make that a successful team. I'm happy for him."

Durkin, 37, spent just one year on staff at Michigan, but what a year it was. The Wolverines fielded one of the most successful defensive units in the country, particularly early in the season, when Michigan posted three consecutive shutouts.

Durkin came to Michigan after spending five years on staff at Florida, including as defensive coordinator and late last year interim head coach.

Florida and Michigan will meet in the Citrus Bowl on New Year's Day.

"Everybody on defense is excited for him," linebacker Joe Bolden said. "We all knew at some point he was going to be a head coach.

"Excited for him, but at the same time for the guys next year (who) obviously want to beat him."

Jake Butt '50-50' on returning to Michigan

Durkin, busy putting his staff together at Maryland, will not coach Michigan in its bowl game.

Greg Mattison, the defensive coordinator for four years under Brady Hoke, will take over for the game. Mattison was Harbaugh's defensive line coach this season.

Players expect a smooth transition, but perhaps a few different play calls, too.

"My first game was under him and my last game is going to be played with him calling the defense, too," Bolden said. "It's pretty exciting from my standpoint."

Under Durkin, Michigan was fourth in total offense (281.3 yards), third in passing (158.8 yards), 11th in scoring (17.2) and 18th in rushing yards (122.6).

The rushing-yards category took a huge hit in the loss to Ohio State in the regular-season finale.

At Maryland, he takes over for Mike Locksley, who was named interim head coach in October after Randy Edsall was fired.

"Just his passion and enthusiasm for the game of football is unbelievable," said Wormley of Durkin, adding that players take pride knowing their performance this year helped land Durkin a dream job. "You take that and you do that anything you do in life, you'll be a successful person.

"Just the intensity and passion you have for something and you focus on that one thing and you put that passion into something you love, you'll be successful."