Durkin Meets with the Media Prior to Practice #10

Maryland Athletics
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The Maryland football team held its 10th spring practice on Tuesday afternoon. Head Coach DJ Durkin met with the media prior to practice to update the teams progress. 

Opening statement:
“We’re going into practice 10. I feel really good about where we are. We had a scrimmage on Saturday and I think the guys did a good job. We’re making strides; there’s obviously plenty to work on and get better at. We’re trying some guys at different spots right now and it’s going well. It’s been a good spring. Other than the weather outside, it’s been a really good spring."

On experimenting at with position changes:
Rayshad Lewis right now – he was at receiver for the first half of spring – he’s now playing corner. I’ll tell you what, he’s doing a heck of a job. He’s a guy that can help us on both sides of the ball. We’ll make a determination of which one he majors in – if he does both or just one – after we get out of spring. But he’s doing both right now and doing a really good job. He’s really the main guy on opposite sides of the ball. I think we have really good depth at the running back position so we’re using those guys in a lot of different spots offensively. And then in terms of on defense, there’s a lot of guys that we’re looking to try and help us in pass rush. Maybe some linebackers, some young guys, moving guys around to help us in pass rush situations. There have been some guys that do a really good job there so we’re going to keep it going. It’s all about guys creating and finding a role for themselves.”

On what he’s seen from DL Byron Cowart:
“Byron’s been tremendous, he really has. He’s doing a really good job both in the run and the pass. You can really just see him – really a year out of football – he’s getting better and better every practice. Byron’s tremendous. He’s really taking his job seriously, he’s a mature guy, he works really hard, he’s been a great leader for the other guys on the team. He’s doing great for us.”

On Cowart’s leadership role:
“He’s got a great way about him. He’s willing to help his teammates. He’s been good for both the defensive line as well as the offensive line. You see him at practice going hard and then grabbing a guy afterword and talking about the rep they just had and maybe something that would’ve helped. He’s kind of an old soul. He has experience to him and he certainly shows that and he’s been helpful.”

On installing the new offense:
“It’s been really good. There are guys that have picked it up well that are working hard at it, you can see the progression they’ve made. And as we keep going and getting guys back healthy, obviously that’ll help too. But I think overall, our whole offense really learning the way that Matt [Canada] has put in and taught it, so everyone’s learning all the formations and we can get the personnel later – in terms of who’s doing what. They’re all learning the system.”

On what he likes about the new offense:
“Just that. That we can be multiple. I think it really serves our personnel really well and helps us to be multiple in what we do. Not, for instance at running back, have one running back on the field all the time. We can be multiple in how we utilize those guys. I think we have more than five offensive linemen that can play at a high level, that we can win with. We can use more than five at a time. And again, with our receivers as well, we’re really talented at receiver. We’re young in spots. I think that’s what really helps us to identify who the guys are that give us the best chance to win and what they do well and then allow them to do it.”

On how the indoor practice facility has helped throughout the spring:
“This spring… with this weather, it’s been unbelievable. We’ve needed it. To me, this time of year is all about the quality of the practices. We’re trying to get quality practice in, so being able to come indoors when it’s raining, snowing, whatever it is outside, you can get a really quality practice in still, which I think has been big for us.”

On if there are any new or young players that have stood out:
“Yeah, they all are. Tre [Watson] has been great. Tre’s done a great job, he’s worked himself into the starting inside linebacker spot right now. Durell [Nchami] is a great freshman that’s really shown up in pass rush and shown that he can do some things to help us. Vincent Flythe has done a really good job being here. Jeshaun Jones has done a great job at receiver. It’s great having – you say young guys – a lot of those mid-year guys, it’s been great having them. They get such a leg up and you can just see them every day getting better and better because they’re soaking it all in.”

On if Brandon and Breyon Gaddy are starting to “take the next step”:
“They are, they are. And we’ve been pushing them hard to do that. They’re really talented, they can certainly help us win games, and it’s all about just getting consistent and caught up to speed and they’re working hard to do that.”

On RB Anthony McFarland and the running backs:
“Yeah, they’re all pushing each other and Anthony really finally looks like his old self right now. He’s been tremendous at practice. He was coming off the injury when he got here, we had the plan to redshirt him right away when he got here, and he’s now finally looking like the guy that we all know who he is. He’s explosive, he’s dynamic. We have great competition in that room.”

On QB Max Bortenschlager:
“Max has done well, he really has. He’s working hard to pick up the things; the terminology and a lot of things differ and actually breaking out of the huddle at times and all that. He’s done good with it. He’s gotten a lot of reps with where we’re at at quarterback and it’s been good for him.”

On QBs Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill:
“They’ll return here. They’re right on target, doing well. They’re throwing and doing some things, we’re holding them out of practice and they’ll have a full summer to get ready to go and they’ll go compete for the job.”

On the linebacker position:
“Yeah, the linebackers are coming really good. Like I said, Isaiah [Davis] and Tre [Watson] are the two guys starting inside right now. They’re doing tremendous. Isaiah has taken the next step as a leader, understanding the defense, being vocal out there. That’s a really big part of the defense – those inside guys – being able to do that.”

On if any wide receivers have taken on a bigger role in DJ Moore’s absence:
“I think naturally Taivon [Jacobs]. Taivon was that next guy in line and he’s doing a really good job. Taivon’s working as hard as he’s ever worked… and Taivon’s a hard worker. He’s really taking things seriously, he’s been a good leader to his teammates, so we’re looking for big things from him.”

On if DJ Moore’s pre-draft success has energized the team to work toward his success:
“I think big time. You look at that and say that he was not touted as a first-rounder going into last season… and that’s where he’s going to find himself here in a couple weeks. It sure does, because more than anything – not just the player, which DJ’s a tremendous player – but these guys were around him on a day-to-day basis and know what he’s all about, what his work ethic is, what type of character, and he is top notch in all areas. It’s a great example for anyone who was around in our program to say that if you want to do it at a high level, be like that guy.”