In his short time at Maryland, linebacker Tre Watson has almost seamlessly filled the void left by former three year starter and current Carolina Panthers linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr.
The Illinois graduate transfer has become one of the leaders on the Maryland defense, and has shown a knack for being around the ball and making big plays. He currently leads the Terps with 69 tackles, and his four interceptions match Darnell Savage Jr. for most on the team and in the conference.
“Tre’s worked his way in and earned the respect of the defense,” interim head coach Matt Canada said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “I think he’s earned the respect of the team by the fact that he plays hard, works hard, practices hard, and then is making plays. We’re very fortunate he’s on our football team.”
While Watson has already had to adjust to a new team and defensive philosophy in his time in College Park, this Saturday may be his biggest challenge yet. The Terps face Illinois on Saturday as one of their three Big Ten West crossover opponents for the first time since joining the Big Ten. Watson’s 102 tackles for the Illini in 2016 tied for ninth in the Big Ten, and he had 65 tackles last year before his season was cut short by injury.
Canada believes Watson will handle the situation well, which can be tough in a situation like this. He said he’s seen players so motivated to play well for a reason like going against your former team, only for them to get too excited and have their performance suffer. However, Canada is confident that won’t be a concern once the clock hits 3:30 on Saturday afternoon.
“Once the game gets going, you’ve got to do your job and he’s done a great job doing his job,” Canada said. “I know he’ll be excited to play and I’m sure he’ll want to play well against them, but he just wants to win.”
In other news
Maryland’s Board of Regents met for seven hours Tuesday to discuss results of the investigation into the football program, and will meet again Thursday to continue that discussion.
The Board has previously announced that “initial moves” will be made by Oct. 30. Here are some questions to hold us over until then.
The current team still has to play a game this week, and Matt Canada discussed that and more in his weekly press conference.
Maryland men’s soccer has won three straight games after knocking off Penn State in double overtime.
Maryland women’s lacrosse should be one of the best teams in the country again this spring. Here’s ILWomen with more on what to expect.
Women’s basketball head coach Brenda Frese sat down with BTN to preview the upcoming season.