Maryland football’s season is just four days away.
Head coach Michael Locksley and some of the players spoke at Maryland’s fall sports media ahead of the Terps’ season opener against West Virginia.
Here’s some of what was said:
The best of what Locksley had to say:
On having fans back in the stadium: “You know I think the feeling that we will have a little more normalcy will take place for us on Saturday when we for the first time in over a year welcome our fans back to ‘The Shell’ and I know our players are excited about this opportunity again because it was taken away from us and we really don’t appreciate things until they’re gone and so I know for us, this will be very welcoming to have our fans back our families back available to come to the show and cheer us on.”
On the program’s injuries heading into the season: “Coming out of training camp, I feel we came out of camp pretty healthy. We haven’t had any major injuries, obviously, we’ve had the bumps and bruises that typically go along with being in a physical training camp.”
On the team’s first matchup of the season: “We welcome a big-time opponent in West Virginia, you know, this is a natural border rivalry, a game that’s been played a lot of years around here... it’s one of those games that was always on the calendar. When you have an opportunity to play a team like West Virginia to open up, as I told our team, it gives us a pretty fast idea as to, you know, what type of team we’re going to be.”
Locksley’s game captains against West Virginia: Graduate student defensive lineman Sam Okuayinonu, senior wide receiver Dontay Demus Jr. and senior wide receiver Brian Cobbs.
On the offensive line: “O-line has been a concern from a depth standpoint, it’s the one position group that, through recruiting, as of right now, we haven’t been able to fill all the needs and voids that we’ve had since we’ve been here.”
On sophomore offensive lineman Aric Harris: “Aric Harris was a great addition and we’re very fortunate to be able to get him in here late, he was a guy that had another year of eligibility to play at the junior college ranks and played really well... he’s been able to add some flexibility to our offensive line.”
On limiting penalties and playing with discipline: “One, is will we be a team that plays with discipline? You don’t win ballgames beating yourself, as I’ve said here and I know it sounds like a coaching cliche to a lot of you guys, but teams that play with great discipline, typically give themselves a chance to win, they don’t help their opponent and so we’ve worked really hard to try to, you know, empower our guys to understand the importance of playing with great discipline.”
Quarterback Taulia Tagoviloa:
On his second season with the Terps: “I have a year under my belt now. So, I mean, I guess I know how it works now going into preparation. Coach Locksley and Coach Enos help me out with that a lot. I mean I feel more comfortable.”
On West Virginia: “They’re a very great defense...we watch a lot of film on them and they’re very aggressive to the ball... I think for me to be successful [I] just gotta stick with the game plan, takes what the defense gives me and just stay discipline.”
Wide receiver Dontay Demus Jr.:
On what he worked on in the offseason: “I just really working hard and just defining my route more. Just defining things, the little things I can do. Just trying to be more consistent all around the board. Just learning every position on the field.”
On coming into this matchup losing nine of the last 10 against West Virginia: “[Locksley’s] told us, also, not to really pay attention to that but just to play this game just like every other game. Just go into ut the same way that you prep for any other game and act like you’ve been there before.”
On playing in front of fans: “They always bring you that 12th-Man energy just be the extra boost to get going out there. You know, they always keep you in the game regardless of how you feel, how it’s going.”
Defensive back Jordan Mosley:
On the status of defensive backs: “I think we’re just like better than we were last year...I think the safety position and the corner position, I think the corners are really deep over there and I like them on the outside and I just like playing behind them because I know they do their job and they do their job well.”
On the rivalry with West Virginia: “We lost the last nine out of 10so that’s not how you ever want to go into a rivalry but this, this should be a nice rivalry and it should get reignited after this season, definitely.”
On the game plan for Saturday: “We want to play tight covers on the outside but still contain the run so that’s really what we’re gonna do. Have a lot of stunts upfront and have the D-line do what they do and have the linebackers just ft the gaps after.”