Terps' Canada: 'Our culture right now is great, awesome'

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WMAR) - A day after the University of Maryland accepted legal and moral responsibility for the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, the new leader of the team said his piece.

Interim head football coach Matt Canada spoke for a little over six minutes on Wednesday prior to practice in College Park. 

He said his players and fellow coaches are in the middle of a challenging situation and they are still grieving for Jordan McNair.

The 19-year-old Randallstown native passed away in June due to complications of heatstroke. He fell ill during a team workout two weeks earlier. 

Over the weekend an ESPN report alleging a toxic, bullying culture within the Terps football program came to light. Canada said that’s not how it is at the moment.

“Our culture right now is great. Our culture right now is awesome,” he said. “Our kids are excited to practice, excited to play. They are loving each other. At times are we grieving for Jordan? We are.”

On Tuesday school President Wallace Loh said mistakes were made by the Maryland training staff that led to McNair’s death.  Canada said changes to practice have been made.

“I think yesterday we went for an hour and 46 minutes. We’ll have two breaks. We’ve got two tents set up, two cooling tents. We have water, Gatorade, snacks in the breaks. All those things.”

Canada has also been in contact with head coach DJ Durkin, who has been placed on leave.

“I’ve talked to Coach Durkin to call him and support him in a situation that’s really challenging. And that’s as far as I’m going to go with that,” said Canada.

He’s also reached out to parents of players.

“I’ve talked to a couple parents and I’ve been very open and honest, which is the only way to be. Everybody’s concerns right now are very wide-ranging.”

Canada said Terps Athletics Director Damon Evans has set up a meeting on Saturday to talk with more parents of players about what’s happening within the program.  

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook

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