After right guard Terrance Davis suffered a sprained MCL against Temple on Sept. 14, doctors told him that he would be out four to six weeks. But the Maryland football senior was determined to get back on the field sooner than the latter.
“I told [doctors] six [games] isn’t even an option,” Davis said. “We were going for three to four at the max.”
Davis missed just four games while rehabbing his leg, unable to play against then-No. 12 Penn State, Rutgers, Purdue, and Indiana.
Part of the reason the DeMatha Catholic High School graduate came back in under six weeks was the way he attacked his rehabbing process.
Davis made sure to seek treatment at least two times a day. He was limited to just laying on the training table with the medical staff trying to get activation in his leg in the first week, but by the second week Davis began more advanced workouts. He started to walk and do squats, and from there his rehab and exercising took off, allowing him to get healthy in a short amount of time.
Davis’ teammates took note of his work ethic and his desire to get back on the field as they watched him rehab for multiple weeks.
“You couldn’t get the kid out of the trainer room,” senior offensive lineman Ellis McKennie said. “He was always in there getting rehab in the morning and in the afternoon, because there was nothing else that was stopping him from getting back [on the field] as quick as possible.”
Luckily for Davis, he had his long time friend and teammate Anthony McFarland Jr. rehabbing at the same time. McFarland suffered a high ankle sprain in the same game as Davis’ knee injury.
“It was definitely a fun process both trying to get back on the field,” Davis said. “We encouraged each other, really just trying to see who could get back on the field first.”
Both Davis and McFarland were fully healthy and played against then-No. 17 Minnesota last week.
The Terps only conceded two sacks to the Golden Gophers’ defense, in part due to the fact that Davis was back in the rotation, but also because of the experience that the younger guys had while Davis was sidelined.
After the game last Saturday, head coach Mike Locksley thought that the offensive line improved.
“I thought I’ve seen us take some steps forward as an offensive line,” Locksley said. “Some of the meaningful work that the young players got due to injury and then due to us playing and we’re starting to see some of the fruits of it.”
McKennie noticed the impact that Davis, who is now in his fourth season as a starter and the most experienced of the offensive line, has on the underclassmen of the group.
“[Davis] has technique and habits as an offensive lineman that some of the young guys look at and can see that’s the way it’s done,” McKennie said. “Terrance has played 30 plus games at this university for a reason, he’s just such a good player and he sets an example for the younger guys.”
Now as Maryland turns its attention to No. 14 Michigan, Davis will look to build from his first game back in the lineup against one of the best defenses in the nation.
“Michigan is a top 10 defense,” Locksley said. “[Michigan defensive coordinator] Don Brown does a tremendous job on that side of the ball with the way they coach the pressure. You know what you’re going to get, they’re going to play man coverage that will have more numbers in the box for you to block.”
Michigan’s defense averages over three sacks per game, while Maryland’s quarterbacks have gotten sacked above twice per game over the last seven games. The Terps offensive line is facing an extremely tough test in one of the nation’s top defenses, which likes to rush the quarterback.
But, Maryland’s star-studded running back has confidence in his blockers to compete against the Wolverines.
“Every day when [the offensive line] comes to practice they just work so they get better each day and each game,” McFarland said. “I’m feeling confident that they will be better going into Michigan this week.”
The Terps’ head coach also has faith in his offensive line to do its job.
“We’ll definitely see one of the better fronts this weekend and it’s a great challenge, but I think our guys will be up to the task,” Locksley said.
Maryland’s offensive line is in a much better spot with Davis back in the rotation, and he’s determined to make an impact in what’s left of his senior season.
“It was pretty tough. But, it wasn’t disheartening just because I knew my season wasn’t over,” Davis said. “It was a blessing in disguise. I wasn’t going to be out for too long, I only missed four games. So, I’m going to make the most of [it], with the rest that I’ve got.”