After being shut out by now-No. 18 Iowa on Saturday, Maryland football returns home to take on Illinois at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The Terps are 4-3 and will look to move within one game of bowl eligibility.
Interim head coach Matt Canada took the podium Tuesday to discuss what went wrong in the loss, the challenges Illinois presents and the various off-field uncertainties surrounding the Terps.
After a letdown in Iowa, interim HC Matt Canada addresses reporters ahead of Maryland's matchup with Illinois. https://t.co/x1ex0LQB6X— Testudo Times (@testudotimes) October 23, 2018
We’ve talked plenty about Maryland’s offensive struggles against the Hawkeyes, and Canada isn’t shying away from admitting it was a poor performance. As has been the case all season, he emphasized his own fault in the results and vowed to make adjustments this week (for what it’s worth, Maryland is 2-0 after losses this year).
“I take it very personally. It was very disappointing that we played the way we played, and I take full blame for it,” Canada said. “It was a lot of things. The weather changed the game for both sides. They come in, their quarterback had thrown six touchdown passes the week before, and they didn’t have a pass go over 16 yards in the air. The weather, the wind, it very much affected the game. It affected us on defense because they just ran the ball and got chunks, and it affected us on offense because we weren’t able to do that and the down-the-field passing game wasn’t really able to be done. But that’s not an excuse; you’ve got to find a way to win.”
Wide receiver DJ Turner, the team’s second-leading receiver this season, did not travel with the team to Iowa due to injury. Canada called it “sort of a thigh bruise situation” Tuesday and said the junior wouldn’t be with the team this week, but isn’t expected to miss much more time. Running back Jake Funk, meanwhile, is still out with a broken hand suffered during practice in Week 2, but Canada said he could be back for one of the Terps’ next two games against Michigan State or Indiana.
It’s a pivotal week both for Maryland’s chances at a bowl game and for the question marks surrounding the program’s culture and the future of DJ Durkin. But coaches always preach a focus on the task at hand and controlling what can be controlled. As such, Canada downplayed the impact of either of those subjects might have on the Terps.
“The opportunities to play are so small in our game,” Canada said in reference to his team not worrying about the investigation. “You get 12 guaranteed chances to play games. That’s it. So to spend time on anything else would be a disservice to them and how hard they’ve worked and the opportunities they have to play. So I think they’re focused on each other, [I’m] proud for that, proud for how they’ve been playing.”