It’s been less than a week and already Terps football has regained a much-needed sense of normalcy.
“We’re focused on today,” said Terps interim head coach Matt Canada during his weekly Tuesday press conference. “A week ago we were sitting here, I don’t know who was here, and things certainly, there were some different events. We’re going to be honest about that.”
Those events: head coach DJ Durkin’s reinstatement last Tuesday and firing last Wednesday, followed by University System of Maryland Board of Regents Chair James Brady’s resignation on Thursday. It’s all in the aftermath of offensive lineman Jordan McNair’s death over the summer.
Canada continues to say his team is playing for each other.
“That is the story. I’ve said that multiple times. The story is these kids. The story is how awesome they are, how special they are, how much they are sticking together. That’s the story,” he said.
Terps players spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time since Durkin was fired.
“I think we’ve handled it in the best way we possibly can,” said defensive lineman Jesse Aniebonam. “When things like this happen it’s on us at that point to really show our maturity and show our resolve in order to progress through the season with all the turmoil. I think we’ve done a tremendous job of that thus far.”
“We’ve done well with avoiding distractions, whether you guys think that on the field or not when we play. We’re just trying to play football,” said running back Ty Johnson. “We don’t really want to be distracted by everything that’s going on because there’s been a lot that’s gone on in the last five months. We’re just trying to play football and not have the whole world looking at us in a negative light.”
What about kicker Matt Barber? He was reportedly involved in a fight with punter Wade Lees a week ago and since has left the team.
“I don’t have any update on that. I have not talked to Matt,” said Canada. “Whenever I talk to Matt I’ll get back to you with any update I have.”
Canada also wouldn’t get into any specifics regarding his conversation with Durkin after he was let go.
As for Saturday’s game, the Terps (5-4) visit Indiana (4-5). This, in all likelihood, is Maryland’s last legitimate shot at a bowl game. A win would give the Terrapins their sixth victory and make them bowl eligible.
After Indiana the Terps close out the regular season with No. 17 Ohio State at home and No. 11 Penn State on the road.