Maryland is expected to hire Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin as the program’s next head coach, according to multiple reports on Tuesday including confirmation from CSN.
Durkin, 37, is heralded as a young and high-level defensive mind and also a skilled recruiter. That checks some major boxes for Maryland, except for the fact that much of the early rhetoric from athletic director Kevin Anderson was that the Terrapins would be looking for a coach who runs a wide-open, modern offensive system.
There seems to be a plan to remedy that. According to a report from Joe Schad of ESPN, Durkin plans to take a page out of Ohio State’s playbook in terms of his offensive plan.
D.J. Durkin’s offensive plans would likely fit along the lines of Ohio State’s spread-power
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) December 2, 2015
The Ohio State defense was the one that gave Durkin’s Michigan defense fits in last week’s 42-13 Buckeyes victory over the Wolverines. In that game, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott ran for 214 yards on 30 carries.
Even with the Buckeyes looking out of sync at times offensively this season, they still ranked 24th in the country in yards per play (6.3) and scored at least 38 points in seven of their 12 games.
A lot of what the Buckeyes do is centered around spreading teams out and then having a powerful running back who can carry the offensive load when asked.
By spreading out the defense, they must respect the possibility that wide receivers will be a threat in the passing game, but they must also have enough defenders in the box to defend the run. A mobile quarterback also helps the offense to complicate matters by demanding extra attention in the running game.
Maryland’s offense struggled in 2015, ranking 91st in the country in yards per play (5.1), though it hit its stride more in the second half of the season with more open looks from interim head coach Mike Locksley.