Maryland travels to Michigan Nov. 5, and to gain more insight into the Wolverines we spoke to MichiganInsider.com beat writer Josh Henschke. Our question-and-answer session with him is below:
Terrapin Times: The main intrigue surrounding this game is obviously D.J. Durkin heading back to Michigan and facing his mentor in Jim Harbaugh. What are Michigan folks' thoughts on Coach Durkin, from when he was in Ann Arbor to now what he's been able to do so far at Maryland?
Josh Henschke: You have to respect what Durkin was able to do in Michigan during his one year tenure, Jim Harbaugh loves the guy and his players also respect him as well. He has Maryland one game away from bowl eligibility in a very competitive division. To me, it's only the beginning, he is cut from the same Harbaugh cloth and I fully expect even greater success in the future.
TT: I'm not sure how much you've seen of Maryland, but does this current Terps' defense remind you of Durkin's style or system? The thought down here is that the program just doesn't have the talent or depth yet to run exactly what Durkin wants.
JH: I think that is a fair assumption. Obviously, Maryland's defense isn't at the level Florida or Michigan was during his tutelage, but it doesn't mean that won't happen. I fully expect to see an aggressive defense coming out to play on Saturday.
TT: Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown used to be at Maryland and had success with his aggressive scheme. What do people in Ann Arbor think of Don Brown in Year One and his system, and how have the players taken to him?
JH: Players love him, the program loves and the fans love him. Harbaugh really hit a home run with the hiring of Don Brown. With the heavy senior influence, the performance of the defense is simply outstanding. You really can't ask for much more from a defensive coordinator in his first season. Brown was fortunate to inherit a deep defense. The real test, however, will be next year when that deep defense graduates.
TT: Another Maryland connection of sorts is that Biff Poggi is now an assistant head coach up there at Michigan. How was that handled, and how has he been received up there? Also, how is his son, Henry Poggi, doing so far?
JH: Biff Poggi is considered an analyst to Jim Harbaugh and, to be honest, I'm not really sure what that job entails. I'm sure from a recruiting perspective that his hire is meaningful, considering the program he previously coached. Henry Poggi is splitting time at fullback with Khalid Hill. With the emergence of Hill at the fullback position, Poggi hasn't had as many touches.
TT: How do fans view this Maryland team that sits at 5-3? Is there any thought to UMD pulling the upset in the Big House two years ago, or is that pretty much a distant memory with Michigan sitting at 8-0 and positioning itself for a playoff game?
JH: I find it hard to believe that Michigan will lose another game until they face Ohio State. This team is playing at another level that hasn't been seen in more than a decade. Personally, I view Maryland as a dangerous team that could do some damage in the conference very soon.
TT: Michigan obviously doesn't have many weaknesses or concerns, but if this team can be beaten, what is the area an opponent can exploit?
JH: L.J. Scott really did some damage on the ground last week. There's a possibility that the defense could still be reeling from getting a bit of a shock by the Spartans. I think the defense wants to lock things down this week and might play a little angry, but the running game could do some damage against the Wolverines.