COLLEGE PARK -- The way Maryland head coach DJ Durkin framed it, the ultimate message to the Terrapin defense will not be changing after the departure of assistant Scott Shafer.
The man delivering the message will be the only difference.
That will now be Andy Buh, the former special teams coordinator at Kentucky and a longtime friend of Durkin’s who served in the past in varying capacities as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Nevada, and California. He was introduced as Maryland's new defensive coordinator on Tuesday in College Park.
“The great thing for our guys is nothing’s changed for them defensively. There’s no terminology, there’s nothing different,” Durkin said.
“The system we’re running, the scheme we’re running is the same and, obviously, Andy has a great background understanding of that scheme as well and so I think in terms of players, if you were trying to switch philosophies in the middle of spring or something, that would be a little bit crazy.”
Durkin himself built his reputation as a defensive coordinator, first at Florida before spending a season under head coach Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. That, then, makes it no surprise that he would hire a man to replace Shafer who shares his defensive philosophy.
It was a unique situation for the first-year head coach. Squarely in the middle of spring practice, he was forced to replace his defensive coordinator -- just as his players were adapting to a coaching regime change.
The aim now is to make the transition as smooth as possible.
“Control the controllables. All you can control is what you can control,” Durkin said. “Don’t worry about the other things. Obviously, that wasn’t under anyone’s control what happened to Scott and that situation, but let’s go deal with it.”
Maryland switched from a 3-4 to 4-3 scheme under first-year defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski last season in an attempt to improve its numbers against the bigger, brawnier fronts in the Big Ten.
Now, the new staff looks to improve a defense that ranked 61st in the country in yards allowed per play and 103rd in yards per pass attempt allowed while maintaining a strong presence against the run after losing key pieces like Quinton Jefferson and Yannick Ngakoue to the NFL Draft.
“My philosophy is in line with Coach Durkin. We’re an attack-style defense,” Buh said.
“Obviously, we want to play great fundamentals. We want to maximize the talent out here on this roster first, develop these guys into fierce competitors. We’re an attacking style defense. We want to dictate to the offense what we’re going to do. That’s what you’ll probably going to see from us on our side of the ball.”