Maryland football has hit a rough patch, losing three straight games and falling to 3-4 in 2017. The Terps have been outscored 137-48 in the three losses, which has them needing a bounce-back performance this weekend as a +4.5-point underdog against Indiana.
It’s easy to watch the team’s recent performances and lose sight of the program’s long-term direction. Here’s DJ Durkin talking about that at his weekly press conference Tuesday:
Progress is measured individually and every circumstance is its own. Every player, every unit. I think there's a lot of progress going on. When you look at the grand scheme of things, where we're at, and the adversity that we've been hit by, it's going to make us better in the long run. It certainly will. There's a lot of guys right now in positions they haven't been in before, in terms of mentally and having to fight through things, or young guys playing that maybe aren't ready to do what they're supposed to do or whatever the case might be. It makes us better in the long run.
It’s been tough for the Terps to show progress against this year’s schedule, which includes eight opponents currently or formerly ranked in the top 25. For Maryland to consistently compete with teams of that caliber, it’d need to be one itself. Durkin knows his group isn’t there yet, even though it knocked off Texas on the road in the opener. So it’s all about patience.
“What you’ve got to do is get to work and develop the guys you have and recruit to the level that you need to be at, which is what we’re doing. It doesn’t happen overnight. Trust me, I have the least amount of patience of probably any human you’ll meet ... I get it. It just is what it is. That’s what we’ve got to do. And I think us at full strength was probably a little bit ahead of the curve of where we thought we were going to be. There were some things going there—and that’s not where we are right now. But that’s OK. We’ve just got to keep developing and improving.”
So while Maryland’s matchup with Indiana might be pivotal for short-term postseason hopes, it’s worth remembering that the show will continue beyond this fall.
In other news
It’s almost basketball season. Here’s Lamar with the start of our preview coverage.
Maryland men’s soccer has dropped three straight, with a puzzling 3-0 loss to VCU the latest of the bunch.
The women’s team hopes for a more positive result tonight in its last game of the year.
Diamond Stone will start 2017-18 on the Windy City Bulls of the NBA G-League.
Here’s The Diamondback on Austin Fontaine, the highest-rated member of Durkin’s 2018 class.