As former and current Maryland football players take sides in the ongoing public debate of “Is DJ Durkin a good guy?” one former Michigan star came down on the side of “bully coach.”

Jabrill Peppers, a Wolverines All-American and defensive standout in 2015 — Durkin’s lone season as the team’s defensive coordinator before moving on to College Park — indicated Tuesday on “The Rich Eisen Show” that he was not a huge fan.


“Coach Durk, he was a different guy, you know what I mean?” he said. “His tactics were different. It felt extreme at times. But I’m just as shocked reading all the stuff that’s going on now. I thought he was only like that because it was his first time coaching us. He's the defensive coordinator, so he was just trying to get us to buy in to how he wants his defense to play. I thought once he became a head coach that he would calm down a little bit, become more of a people person, a player’s coach.”

Durkin was placed on administrative leave Saturday along with three other staff members, one of whom, strength and conditioning coach Rick Court, resigned Monday.

The school is conducting an external review of the the protocols and procedures relating to the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, as well as of the program’s coaching culture, which an ESPN report last week depicted as demeaning.

DJ Durkin still has support among Maryland football players despite being placed on leave

Maryland redshirt senior linebacker Jesse Aniebonam and Wade Lees, the team's 30-year-old Australian punter, are among what they see as a majority of players who are upset about DJ Durkin being put on administrative leave.

“It’s just the way that [Durkin] goes about getting the most out of his players,” said Peppers, entering his second year as a safety for the Cleveland Browns. “Me, being from where I’m from, I didn’t like it, but at the end of the day, I knew what the overall goal was. ... The way I would describe it: kind of like bully coaching, you know what I mean? I don’t think he meant anything by it. It's just kind of how it comes up.”

Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh, the brother of Ravens coach John Harbaugh, said Monday night he hadn’t spoken to Durkin, whom he hired in January 2015.

“He has not reached out,” said Harbaugh, who also declined to comment on Durkin’s coaching style.