Getting to know Durkin


On Tuesday, we had a chance to talk to D.J. Durkin for the first time since he was promoted to defensive coordinator (and for the first time since Will Muschamp took over for Urban Meyer).

Durkin comes across as very intelligent, very energetic coach who is ready to take command of the Muschamp defense, which will not change under a new coordinator.

Here is some of what Durkin had to say:

On being named the coordinator:
“I’m very excited. Excited because of the guys I get to work with, both players and coaches. I think it’s a great opportunity. Very excited about it. It’s a new challenge. Any time you do something for that long, you kind of get in your routine, and you get the normalcies of it and all that. It’s exciting for me to have new challenges and some different things to work on and do.”

Any hesitancy in moving Antonio Morrison to middle linebacker?
“No. There’s not. Antonio is a very physical player to begin with, that’s kind of his nature, his style of play. He’s put some weight on, some size on this offseason. I think he’ll be just fine by the time we get to the year he’ll be about 230 pounds or so. He’s a durable guy, and that’s kind of his nature, his style of play. He fits that really well, just how he plays the game.”

Thoughts on the pass rush this season:
“We’re very excited about that. When you talk about the opportunity of getting Ronald Powell back, getting Neiron Ball back off injury, then you have Dante Fowler, Jon Bullard — those types of guys can all do some things off the edge for us. We’re very excited about that. That’s an area that we need to improve on this year and is an emphasis coming through this spring and into next season, to be able to affect the quarterback and not only get sacks, but get hits and move the guy and affect him and move him off the spot in the pocket. All those guys I mentioned, plus some others in different blitz packages and different things we can do off the edge. We feel like we’ve got some dynamic guys out there that can really help us. That’s something we need to be better at.”

Defensive philosophy:
“You’ve seen the identity of our defense, what we as a staff have wanted to build here. We want to be a tough, blue-collar team. We want to play with unbelievable effort and enthusiasm in what we’re doing. That’s the way I coach. That’s my personality. That’s what I hope I’ve carried over to our special teams and it’d be the same thing with our defense. We’ve got a great system in place. We’re not changing the terminology and all that. Coach Muschamp, it’s his system and he’s a great defensive mind. It’s been great for all of us to learn that system. That’s what this game’s all about: we’re gonna be a blue-collar team, tough, physical, both mentally and physically tough and just play with great enthusiasm and great attitude.”

Challenge of replacing seven starters:
“I think one of the great things about this place and what we’ve been able to do is we play a lot of guys on defense. You go out there and watch the Pro Day, we lost some very good players right there and guys that contributed a lot. But at the same time we have a lot of guys coming back that contributed quite a bit. Because we’re not just playing 11 guys. We play 20-something guys in a game on defense, and we want to continue that. So we’ve got some up-and-coming guys we feel really good about. We’ve had some really good recruiting classes. Guys that we’re excited to watch. This spring is going to be awesome to see guys go compete for spots. We have a good nucleus of guys coming back that have played a lot for us already in games, and then we’ve got the next group coming up. They’ve got to be the guys that get in there, too, so we can play 18-19-20-something guys in the game.”

On his ability to hang around at UF:
“I don’t know, it’s good timing I guess, I don’t know. I’ve always just tried to keep your head down and work as hard as you can, and deal with your players honestly and deal with other coaches honestly and just be who you are. And it really is, it is good timing. I was very fortunate to be kept on and it’s been great. I enjoy working with coach Muschamp. I think we’ve got a really good thing going here. And I mean that in terms of the players we’ve been able to bring in. We’ve got a room full of guys we enjoy. When you walk in the room to go coach them, you’re excited about it and you enjoy it. I think overall that’s the biggest thing. These guys enjoy playing with each other, playing together and we enjoy coaching them.”


  1. I agree with something I read, not too long ago and that was Durkin is a Coach with a promising future. It will not shock me if he doesn’t end up one of the better Head Coaches in time. Hopefully, he will be at UF for a long time; however, it’s easy to want to see him continue to progress. Ten years from now, they will be talking about the Muschamp Coach tree and the fruit it will have produced.

    Moving Morrison to the middle was a great move.

  2. SEC Championships: Alabama 23 – Florida 8
    Undefeated seasons: Alabama 13 – Florida 1 (in 1911 5-0-1)
    Ten win seasons: Alabama 32 – Florida 12
    Head to Head: Alabama 23- Florida 14
    Last 3 games: Alabama 101 – Florida 29
    10 AP/UPI/BCS titles in last 50 years.
    “I don’t always drink tears, but when I do, I prefer Tim Tebow tears”

  3. I also agree with the Morrison move. The dude may prove himself to be one of the best MLBs we’ve ever had. Of course, I base that on his tremendous hit on EJ against the nolies, among other plays. I’ve always noticed that we rotate several defensive players, much like hockey has several lines. The most promising news is the camaraderie among the players and the coaches’ appreciation of that getalongability. We will compete and be Top 20. I just hope the Gator Nation can dispense with the negative white noise for a couple of years so Muschamp can grow this program to where it was in the days of Tebow. Durknin will help move us in that direction.

  4. “Your comment is awaiting moderation”. ROFL. Where was this “moderator” when Roll Tide posted his normal garbage, which is exactly the same every time and has NOTHING to do with the topic at hand? Of course, What moderator is going to delete something written by Robbie Andreu?

    Moderation. Hah!

  5. Who is this idiot that is the Alabama fan that keeps sending e-mails bagging about Alabama. Florida is the only team that has beaten Alabama in the SEC Championship game and they will do it again when they match up against them in Atlanta. The Tide caught us at the right time when they clobbered us the last 3 times. Go Gators!!

  6. Durkin was spectacular as special teams coordinator — innovative and inspiring. Expect he’ll do the same as DC. In which case, Muschamp better start grooming the next one because Durkin has HC written all over him.

  7. Love our coaching staff! D.J. Durkin is a great young coach and a very big part of that staff. This promotion shows that not only is he ready for the next step but our Head Coach Will Muschamp, knows how to do his job as well. D.J. Durkin deserves this opportunity! He will be a great Defensive Coordinator! Love our coaching staff! GO GATORS!! Love our team! GO GATORS!! WE WILL BE SEC CHAMPIONS THIS YEAR! GO GATORS!!