Urban Meyer remains close to Maryland coach

Maryland head coach DJ Durkin, front left, meets Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, front right, for a hand shake after an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. Michigan won 59-3. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
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Maryland head coach DJ Durkin, front left, meets Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, front right, for a hand shake after an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. Michigan won 59-3. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

DJ Durkin got his start under Meyer at Bowling Green

Urban Meyer has had great success when he coaches against former assistants. He takes a 7-1 mark into his first matchup with DJ Durkin, the first-year Maryland coach who was a graduate assistant on Meyer’s staff at Bowling Green in 2001 and 2002 and a linebacker and special teams coach under Meyer at Florida in 2011.

Meyer remains close to Durkin and his family, but both will put their friendship to the side at 3:30 p.m. Saturday when Ohio State visits the Terrapins in College Park, Maryland.

“We’re all professionals, and he’s the ultimate professional,” Meyer said Tuesday. “I’m very proud of DJ, and I see what are the trademarks of our program. They play hard, and guys give it everything they can.”

Durkin was the defensive coordinator at Michigan before being hired by Maryland. He’s 5-4 in his first season and 2-4 in the Big Ten. Ohio State (8-1, 5-1) is a 29-point favorite.

Durkin played at Bowling Green and was still working toward his degree after his football career ended when he interviewed with Meyer and got his first coaching job. Looking back, he says he didn’t realize how fortunate he was.

“It was a very valuable experience,” Durkin said. “It was obviously my first experience as a coach. It was hard work. It was very enjoyable. I learned a lot from it. A lot of things I learned back then are still a major part of my philosophy today.”

Close to record: Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett has been responsible for 94 touchdowns (passing and rushing) in his career. He's one short of tying former Purdue quarterback Drew Brees for the Big Ten record.

Meyer sees similarities between Barrett and Brees. Barrett had 66 passing touchdowns and 28 rushing touchdowns. Brees threw 81 touchdown passes and rushed for 14 scores.

“I study Drew Brees,” Meyer said. “I think he’s fantastic. He’s competitive. I was at Notre Dame when we lost to Purdue and Drew Brees when Joe Tiller was the coach. He was a phenomenal player. They hurt us with the bubble screens.”

Friday night schedule: Ohio State will not be one of the Big Ten teams playing a Friday night game next season. The conference released the schedule Tuesday.

There are two games Sept. 1: Washington at Rutgers; and Utah State at Wisconsin. Ohio plays at Purdue on Sept. 8. Illinois hosts Nebraska on Sept. 29. Maryland hosts Northwestern on Oct. 13. Northwestern plays at Michigan State on Oct. 27.