Maryland football plays Michigan at noon Saturday on ABC. The Terps (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) were idle last week, so they’ll bring two weeks of rest into Ann Arbor after dispatching Minnesota in their Big Ten opener.
Here’s what interim head coach (and, as he persistently reminds us, offensive coordinator) Matt Canada had to say at his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon.
After the bye week, Maryland Interim HC Matt Canada returns to address reporters ahead of a Michigan matchup. https://t.co/JdNE1ZwY9W— Testudo Times (@testudotimes) October 2, 2018
Bye weeks are generally useful times for teams to focus on their own strengths and weaknesses with no opponents to prepare for, and for players to focus on academics with a less intense practice schedule. Maryland caught bad news last week, though, as junior running back Lorenzo Harrison injured his knee in practice and had “clean-up” surgery that will sideline him for the remainder of the season. Harrison had just returned from a nagging hamstring injury, and while the Terps still have a strong stable of running backs, it always stings to lose a player of his caliber.
“He was feeling great, made a great run and it was a non-contact situation. That’s part of the deal with athletics—sometimes it’s just an interesting, hard situation,” Canada said. “Everything went well. Obviously, it’s been documented he had surgery and he’s out for the year, but everything went as well as it could go and I’m feeling very good about where he’ll be as this moves forward.”
Canada said he’s “hopeful” Maryland’s other banged-up players return to action this week—that list includes safeties Darnell Savage and Antwaine Richardson, defensive tackle Adam McLean, tackles Damian Prince and Marcus Minor and center Johnny Jordan. Running back Jake Funk, who broke his hand in practice in Week 2, will not be back against Michigan.
The Wolverines are No. 15 in the AP Poll and No. 7 in S&P+, which makes them by far Maryland’s toughest test yet this season. And the Terps will also have to deal with over 100,000 screaming fans in Ann Arbor; that’s a bigger crowd than their last three games combined (two at home, one at Bowling Green). But this is the kind of game that Maryland has to be more competitive in as it builds its profile in the Big Ten.
“Jump in the deep water with the big sharks, right?” Canada said. “That’s what you want to do. You want to play the best and you want to be around the best, and certainly our conference right now is doing a tremendous job ... and this is the next one on our schedule. We’re excited to go play them, go play in a historic stadium and a very historic program.”