The first steps in the D.J. Durkin era were all positive — bringing in an incredible array of college coaching talent to fill out his staff as a first-time head coach. It was then followed up by a nice recruiting class on short notice and a fresh start heading in to spring football.
However, Durkin has hit his first major hurdle before ever playing a game. On Friday, Terps defensive coordinator Scott Shafer announced he was stepping down from the program to focus on personal matters.
“I want to thank DJ Durkin for the opportunity to be on his staff, but at this time I feel it’s best to step aside to tend to personal matters,” Shafer said in a statement. “I’m sincerely appreciative of his support and friendship.”
It is unclear what specifically made Shafer step aside, but with spring practice well underway getting a new staff member in place and getting practice going is not an option. At least if Durkin decides to go with an external hire.
Lucky for Durkin that he also has two other former head coaches on his staff, with former Virginia head coach Mike London hired originally to coach the defensive line and former Ball State head coach Pete Lembo hired to coach special teams.
London was a two-year defensive coordinator at Virginia before becoming the head coach, meaning it would be a natural fit in elevating London to the defensive coordinator position.
Following spring it is all about recruiting, and having time to build relationships and find the right coach to fit in this staff could actually be a blessing. Don’t be surprised to see a move made quickly if Durkin turns to an internal candidate.