O’s fans, get set for an­other quiet free-agent sea­son

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - Peter Sch­muck

In some ma­jor league cities, the month of Novem­ber is a time of op­ti­mism and re­birth, as re­build­ing teams shop the free-agent mar­ket and pon­der trades to im­prove them­selves for a new sea­son that is less than four months away.

In Bal­ti­more, we’ve got­ten used to the more de­lib­er­ate man­age­ment style of Ori­oles base­ball op­er­a­tions chief Dan Du­quette, and know not to ex­pect a whole lot to hap­pen before the new year.

That isn’t a crit­i­cism. Du­quette’s record since be­ing named ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent is im­pres­sive, es­pe­cially when com­pared with the prod­uct that had been placed in front of Ori­oles fans over the 14 los­ing sea­sons before his ar­rival. He just has a par­tic­u­lar way of do­ing things that doesn’t lend it­self to a lot of

“It wasn’t that he was known through­out the coun­try at the time,” Durkin said. “It didn’t take very long [to re­al­ize] this guy’s pretty spe­cial.”

Meyer, 52, saw some­thing sim­i­lar in Durkin.

“I im­me­di­ately gave him full-time re­spon­si­bil­ity af­ter the first few weeks we were to­gether,” Meyer said Tues­day dur­ing the Big Ten coaches’ tele­con­fer­ence. “I was hav­ing plans to hiring him full time [before leav­ing for Utah af­ter two sea­sons]. That’s how good he was.”

Those who worked with Meyer and Durkin saw sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the two.

John Bow­ers, who coached the lineback­ers at Bowl­ing Green and worked for Meyer as a re­cruit­ing as­sis­tant at Ohio State in 2013, said Durkin was the first of an im­pres­sive list of grad­u­ate as­sis­tants who worked for Meyer dur­ing those two years.

“You could see his pas­sion, the way he treats peo­ple, his love of foot­ball, the at­ten­tion to de­tail as a young coach,” said Bow­ers, who coaches out­side lineback­ers and spe­cial teams at his alma mater, James Madi­son.

Bow­ers has a vivid mem­ory of Durkin from one of the team’s first win­ter work­outs af­ter Durkin tran­si­tioned from a two-year Fal­cons cap­tain to a grad­u­ate as­sis­tant.

“We had some guys not com­pet­ing like we thought they should,” Bow­ers said. “I can re­mem­ber DJ div­ing over two or three peo­ple to help ‘en­cour­age’ a guy to give more ef­fort. I re­mem­ber his in­ten­sity. He un­der­stood the pas­sion you had to play with and get­ting the guys to be­lieve in you and play­ing hard for you and treat­ing them the right way.

“He was coach­ing all the guys that he had played with; that’s not easy. He did a great job of get­ting the re­spect of those guys quickly, re­al­iz­ing that he was now a coach and no longer a player, and sep­a­rat­ing that part of his life from his bud­dies. I did the same thing; it’s not easy. You have to do it if you want to be suc­cess­ful.”

Paul Krebs, the ath­letic direc­tor who hired Meyer as head coach in 2001, was still at Bowl­ing Green when Durkin re­turned as a full-time as­sis­tant af­ter Meyer left for Utah. Krebs re­called Durkin’s re­ac­tion on the side­line dur­ing the team’s open­ing game of the 2005 sea­son.

“There was an ex­cit­ing play, and DJ thought he was still play­ing, and head-butted one of the play­ers who

CHRIS KNIGHT/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

DJ Durkin was hired by Ur­ban Meyer as a grad­u­ate as­sis­tant in 2001.

JAY LAPRETE/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

“I’m very proud of DJ,” Ohio State coach Ur­ban Meyer said Tues­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.