Durkin aims to learn from first loss

Coach says mis­takes made by ‘pan­icked’ Terps can be cor­rected

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Don Markus

Af­ter watch­ing tape from his team’s first loss of the sea­son and his first de­feat as coach at Maryland, DJ Durkin said in a tele­con­fer­ence Mon­day that he be­lieves the mis­takes the Terps made in a 38-14 de­feat Satur­day at Penn State are cor­rectable.

“We kind of got out of our­selves a lit­tle bit. I think I prob­a­bly said af­ter the game, and it showed up on film, the mis­takes we made are things we ... hadn’t done to that point,” Durkin said.

“They hit us on a cou­ple of plays early and guys sort of pan­icked a lit­tle bit, try­ing to do too much, try­ing to do the guy’s job next to him. It hap­pened on both sides of the ball.”

As he did Satur­day af­ter the game, Durkin called it a “learn­ing mo­ment for our team. … Ev­ery­thing is a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. That along with some other things, the best lessons you learn [are] af­ter a loss. It’s hu­man na­ture to not be quite on high alert af­ter a win.

“If we han­dle this the right way, we can Satur­day, noon TV: ESPNU Ra­dio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM Line: Maryland by 41⁄

prob­a­bly learn a lot more from this about our­selves and what we need to do. … We have to trust the guy next to us, play within the scheme and keep go­ing. We cer­tainly have an of­fense that’s ca­pa­ble of scor­ing points and we cer­tainly have a de­fense that’s ca­pa­ble of stop­ping peo­ple.”

Durkin said the Terps (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten Con­fer­ence), who host Minnesota (3-2, 0-2) in Col­lege Park on Satur­day at noon, should be able to han­dle fall­ing be­hind early.

“Be­ing down 10 points or even 17 should not be some­thing that seems in­sur­mount­able for us at all; we’ve just got to learn those lessons,” Durkin said. “It was some­thing that had not hap­pened to us yet to this point. I thought we han­dled ad­ver­sity well in a tight game ear­lier in the sea­son at Cen­tral Florida. In this game, for what­ever rea­son, we didn’t. We went the op­po­site way.”

Durkin would not at­tribute it to the an­nounced crowd of over 100,000 at Beaver Sta­dium.

“I don’t know if en­vi­ron­ment af­fects you that much. Cer­tainly crowd noise can have an ef­fect on some things, on the snap count or what not, but I don’t see that as some­thing that to­tally af­fects your team,” Durkin said.

“I just think they came out and they were ex­e­cut­ing bet­ter than us and it’s kind of the snow­ball ef­fect. Guys were wor­ried about the guy next to them and what he was sup­posed to do. You can’t pos­si­bly func­tion that way as a team.”

As of Mon­day, Durkin did not ex­pect many changes to Maryland’s per­son­nel go­ing into its next game.

Durkin ex­pects fifth-year se­nior quar­ter­back Perry Hills to play against the Go­phers af­ter sit­ting out the se­cond half against the Nit­tany Lions. Hills rein­jured his right shoul­der, which he hurt in a dou­ble-over­time win at Cen­tral Florida on Sept. 17. And it had both­ered him even be­fore that.

“Perry’s an ex­tremely tough guy. This is some­thing that won’t linger too long for him,” Durkin said. “[The train­ing staff ] will con­tinue to mon­i­tor him ev­ery day, but Perry’ll be fine.”

Asked if he was happy with the way backup Tyrrell Pi­grome per- formed af­ter com­ing in for Hills or whether the true fresh­man is still a work in progress, Durkin said, “We’re all a work in progress, our whole team. Ab­so­lutely, there’s plenty to im­prove on.

“Once again, I do like the way he came in. He doesn’t get too high or too low, he just kind of stays even-keel, which is good, which is what you want out of your quar­ter­back. I thought he did some very good things, things that he and we can re­ally clean up.”

Durkin added that Pi­grome’s hav­ing played in ev­ery game — his 24-yard touch­down run against Cen­tral Florida was his only snap in that game — “will ob­vi­ously help us in the long run.”

Durkin also said he ex­pects to con­tinue to go with a run­ning back-by-com­mit­tee ap­proach de­spite pick­ing up a sea­son-low 170 yards, in­clud­ing 79 by fresh­man Lorenzo Har­ri­son. All six run­ning backs were used, and only se­nior Wes Brown did not get a carry.

Though Ty John­son was held with­out a yard on five car­ries af­ter rush­ing for a ca­reer-high 204 yards on seven car­ries in a 50-7 home­com­ing win over Pur­due, the sopho­more from Cum­ber­land still leads the Big Ten in yards per carry (10.4). John­son did have a 66-yard catch-and-run for a touch­down.

“We’ll con­tinue to ro­tate them. I think it’s been a ma­jor ben­e­fit and plus for us,” said Durkin. “Those guys are all play­ing well and do­ing good things for us.”


The Terps’ 38-14 loss to Penn State on Satur­day was the first loss of DJ Durkin’s head coach­ing ca­reer. “We can prob­a­bly learn a lot more from this,” he said.

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