In an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show on Tuesday, former Michigan All-American Jabrill Peppers spoke about Maryland coach DJ Durkin, one of the defensive coordinators Peppers had during his time in Ann Arbor.
Peppers said he is "just as shocked reading" about allegations of a toxic coaching environment at Maryland under Durkin. During their one season together with the Wolverines in 2015, Peppers was not a fan of Durkin's coaching style, saying, "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."
Durkin was placed on administrative leave at Maryland after the school launched an investigation into the circumstances that led to offensive lineman Jordan McNair dying after collapsing following an official team workout. On Tuesday, university president Wallace Loh announced Maryland took "legal and moral responsibility" for McNair's death and that there would also be a second investigation into the coaching staff. The school already parted ways with head of strength and conditioning Rick Court, who was initially placed on leave with other members of the training staff.
During the interview with Eisen, Peppers said Durkin "was a different guy" and felt his tactics were "extreme at times," but Peppers added that he "thought he was only like that because it was his first time coaching us, he was a defensive coordinator and he was trying to get us to buy into how he wanted his defense to play."
"The way I would describe it, kind of like bully coaching, you know what I mean?" Peppers told Eisen. "I don’t think he meant anything by it, but it was just kind of how it comes off."
Peppers added that he thought Durkin "would calm down a little bit, become more of a people person," when he got a head coaching gig and become more of "a player's coach."
Durkin is entering his third season with the Terrapins, but he is still on leave while offensive coordinator Matt Canada serves as interim head coach. Peppers is getting ready to start his second season with the Cleveland Browns, who selected him with the No. 25 pick in the 2017 draft.