COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WDVM) – The University of Maryland football program, kicked off their spring football practices; the first of 15 spring practices that will get the team ready for the upcoming 2021 football season.
Head Coach Mike Locksley spoke with the media at the top of the program’s Spring football Media Day; emphasizing his excitement for having spring football practices, as the Terrapins enter their third season with Locksley at the helm.
“I am excited because I really like this team, in terms of the comradery, going through the third Terp time program since I’ve been here, and just seeing how they’ve attacked it.” said Head Coach Mike Locksley, “This time of year is the toughest part of our program, it is when we really get after it mentally and physically, and they responded the right kind of way, and the way you would have expected us.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Terps didn’t have a chance to expand on their talent through a spring schedule; the effects of which poured into their 2020 season, where they finished with a 2-3 season record.
In an interview with 105.7 The Fan’s Vinnie and Hayne show; Maryland Athletic Director confirmed that fans would be able to attend the Terrapin’s annual Spring game, on April 24th.
“Obviously, we got a lot of things to work through with our local county government, which we’ve had some restrictions, from a fan perspective.” said Damon Evans, “But we’ve still got to go through some things from a conference perspective, to get the conference to allow us to start having fans, which I’m very, very optimistic that that will take place for us, besides just parents and family members. So it’s going to be a great spring, a spring day for us when we play that game, as well as just a great time for people to see what Maryland football is all about.”
For Mike Locksley, and his new staff; this game will serve as a chance for them to gauge where the team will be heading, in time for the 2021 football season. Maryland return 14 starters from last season’s team, headlined by quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa; and a slew of young defensive talent that will compete for starting spots in this year’s roster.
“Just like everyone else in the country, we’re playing catchup.” said Mike Locksley, “In that, getting our players into peak football shape, you know with us not playing a full schedule last year, and not having the December opportunities that typically come with playing a full schedule; we’re playing a little bit of catchup.”
“And I feel like, we’ve done a really good job, our strength and conditioning staff has done a great job, of being organized and getting our players to understand where we need to be from a mental and physical toughness standpoint.”
Speaking of his staff preparing the team; Head Coach Mike Locksley touched on his new hires for the upcoming season, saying he has had strong past relationships with each of them, and are familiar with. He is looking for them to add to Maryland’s philosophies, that have brought them success previously.
“What we do on offense, defense, and special teams won’t change; regardless of who we bring in.” said Mike Locksley, “They will be able to add to our packages, and put their personalities on it; and that’s what I expect all three of these guys to do, in each of their respective fields.”
Some things haven’t changed from last year, specifically surrounding COVID-19 protocols, Mike Locksley confirmed that the team is still following the guidelines put in place by their local health authorities, and the Big Ten; and it’s not the same level of interaction that the team would normally have.
“It still is a little different, but I can tell you; it sure feels good to know that we’re going to go out and have an opportunity to practice.” said Mike Locksley, “To me, you get into the business as a coach, these are the days you love; able to go out on the grass, and really coach players, take them where they can’t take themselves. And to have the opportunity that, this year, after losing it, I think like I said in my opening statement; you gain a greater appreciation for being able to have these opportunities.”
For Mike Locksley, and his staff; this spring session will consist of a focus behind player development, as the third-year Head Coach emphasized, while the program is focused on winning titles, it’s “winning today” that will bring them the success that the program is chasing overall.
“As far as winning, as you guys know I always say, not gonna spend a lot of time talking about winning or winning championships. What we want to do, is win today.” said Coach Locksley, “We want to win, get better with each day we have the opportunity to, and then at the end of it; we’ll stack it up and see how we did.”