O’s fans, get set for another quiet free-agent season
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
DJ Durkin was hired by Urban Meyer as a graduate assistant in 2001.
“I’m very proud of DJ,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday.