One of the biggest stories of the week came Thursday when reported that former Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin was helping the Alabama football staff break down film and prepare for the Orange Bowl.

While Nick Saban has brought in many former coaches as consultants and analysts, the Durkin news surprised many college football observers. Making the association with Durkin, fired by Maryland after a Terrapins player died following an offseason workout, seemed to be inviting an unwanted distraction for the program. The national reaction to the news was almost universally negative.

Saban released a statement to the media on the matter Friday:

“DJ Durkin is spending a few days with our staff in Tuscaloosa from a professional development standpoint. He has not been hired in any capacity at The University of Alabama. He is simply observing our operation as many other coaches have done through the years.”