Muschamp defends Durkin, who was placed on administrative leave at Maryland
Published on Saturday, 8/11/18, at 7:59 p.m. Eastern.
Maryland placed third-year head coach D.J. Durkin on administrative leave today after an ESPN report surfaced last night describing “a toxic culture” within the football program. New offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who was LSU’s OC last season, was named interim head coach while the school awaits the findings of an investigation that was launched after redshirt freshman offensive lineman Jordan McNair passed away two weeks after suffering a heatstroke during offseason conditioning drills earlier this summer.
Will Muschamp, who had Durkin on his staff at Florida for four years, came to Durkin’s defense when asked about the situation after South Carolina’s practice earlier today. You can see his remarks in the embedded tweet below:
#Gamecocks @CoachWMuschamp delivered a fiery response to a question about an @espn story, which portrays the Maryland football program under DJ Durkin in a bad light. Durkin used to work w/ coach. “There’s no credibility in anonymous sources. I think that’s gutless.” @wis10 pic.twitter.com/ny60Xb8jIO
— Joe Gorchow (@joegorchowWIS) August 11, 2018
Muschamp’s comments included these: “D.J. Durkin is an outstanding football coach. He’s also an outstanding husband and father. If that former staffer (who anonymously said in the ESPN report that he would never allow his son to play at that program) had any guts, why didn’t he put his name on that? I think that’s gutless. I know D.J. Durkin personally. I know what kind of man he is. I talked to him this morning. I don’t think [the ESPN story] is right. Next question.”
Two Big Ten head coaches are on leave with Week 1 three weeks away. In other developments today in the soap opera that’s been going down in Columbus over the past few weeks, Brett McMurphy countered what was reported in Ohio by Jeff Snook over the last 48 hours. On Thursday, Snook quoted Courtney Smith’s mother, Tina Carano, from a text-message-only interview with remarks that discredited her daughter and defended Zach Smith against the allegations of domestic abuse from his ex-wife.
On Saturday morning, Snook reported that former Ohio St. assistant and current Texas head coach Tom Herman tipped off McMurphy to the 2015 domestic-violence incident that led to Zach Smith’s pinkslip on July 23 after it was reported by McMurphy.
McMurphy responded on Twitter earlier today:
For those who have asked for my response to Jeff Snook’s claim Saturday: “I have never revealed my sources in my nearly four decade journalistic career & I am not going to start now. However, I will say unequivocally that Tom Herman was not my source.”
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 11, 2018
Herman also denied what was reported by Snook. His wife also chimed in via her Twitter account: “Nope, wasn’t me either!”
McMurphy conducted a phone interview with Carano this morning. She acknowledged sending texts to Zach Smith that confirm his abuse of her daughter, who had told McMurphy that she’s been estranged from her mother for two months. McMurphy actually obtained the text messages sent from Carano to Zach Smith and posted them to his FaceBook page. They completely contradict what Carano told Snook via text messages on Thursday.
The investigation into Urban Meyer is expected to be wrapped up by the end of the upcoming week. Meyer has already admitted to lying at Big Ten Media Days and attempted to throw his boss (Ohio St. AD Gene Smith) under the bus in vintage Oscar Meyer Weiner form.
On Friday, former Florida AD Jeremy Foley responded with a “no comment” to an interview request from McMurphy through a UF spokesman. McMurphy wants to question Foley on whether or not Meyer reported the 2009 domestic-violence incident in which Zach Smith was arrested for roughing up Courtney Smith while she was pregnant with their first child. Those charges were eventually dropped.
Finally, in other college football developments, there was bad news for Southern Miss out of Hattiesburg today. QB Kwadra Diggs, who had a 16/2 touchdown-to-interception ratio and three rushing scores in 2017, has been suspended indefinitely “pending the resolution of a student-conduct matter.” This is especially troubling for the Golden Eagles because their only other experienced QB, Keon Howard, left the program a week ago to transfer to Tulane.