Chris Partridge: DJ Durkin ‘intense’ but not out of line at Michigan

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
DJ Durkin

Ann Arbor – Chris Partridge, Michigan’s safeties/special teams coordinator, described Maryland coach DJ Durkin as “intense” but said he never saw him cross the line while with the Wolverines.

Durkin was Jim Harbaugh’s defensive coordinator in 2015 before leaving for Maryland.  Durkin is on administrative leave while the school investigates accusations about the mistreatment of players after an ESPN story detailed a culture of fear and intimidation. This surfaced after the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who collapsed during a workout in May and died two weeks later.

“DJ is an intense guy,” Partridge said Monday. “He’s a good coach. He was always really good to me. When he had gone to Maryland he offered me and asked me to come along with him. He’s an intense football coach who’s a good guy. That’s my interactions with him.”

Former Wolverine Jabrill Peppers appeared on the Rich Eisen Show last week and referred to Durkin’s “bully coaching” when asked the extremes he experienced from the former coordinator’s coaching style.

“It’s just the way he goes about getting the most out of his players,” Peppers said. “Me being from where I’m from, I didn’t like it, but at the end of the day I knew what the overall goal was. The way I would describe it, kind of like bully coaching. I don’t think he meant anything by it, but it’s kind of how it comes out.

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“Coach Durkin was a different guy. His tactics were different. It felt extreme at times. I’m just as shocked reading all the stuff that’s going on now, because I thought he was only like that because it was his first time coaching us. He was defensive coordinator, so he was just trying to get us to buy into how he wanted his defense to play.”

Partridge was asked about Peppers’ reference to “bully” tactics and reminded that in his first season at Michigan he was director of player personnel in recruiting and was not an on-field coach.

“Not that I saw,” Partridge said, referring to whether he had encountered “bully coaching.” “I wasn’t in all those meetings. I wasn’t privy to everything that maybe Jabrill had seen or been around, but in my experience, no, I didn’t see him cross the line at all.”