It is anything but your normal game week for Maryland Football.
For its coaches and its players.
“Everything that they’ve dealt with, they’ve done the best job that they could possibly do,” said Terps interim head coach Matt Canada. “I think we are as ready as we could be given the situation that we’re in.”
The scandal surrounding the program following the heatstroke death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair has been the focal point off the field.
Two investigations are ongoing - into the death itself and into the alleged toxic culture within the team.
On Tuesday the University System of Maryland Board of Regents announced that it will hold a special meeting on Thursday, via conference call, to receive updates on actions taken since its August 17 decision to assume control of the two separate investigations.
Head Coach DJ Durkin is among the staff that remains on administrative leave. Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada leads the Terps into the season opener against No. 23 Texas as interim head coach. He does so with McNair’s memory felt within his locker room.
“Continuing to think about, talk about, grieve about and find different ways to play for Jordan and that’s something our entire program is doing and we’re very proud of the way our players are handling that,” he said.
Canada added that he and the assistant coaches who were present on May 29, when McNair fell ill during a workout, have met with investigators.
With the extreme heat the Terps moved practice inside Cole Field House on Tuesday.
Canada said he has decided on a starting quarterback for Saturday but wouldn’t reveal the starter.
Redshirt Freshman Kasim Hill and Redshirt Sophomore Tyrrell Pigrome are both listed as number one on the depth chart. Both are returning from torn ACLs.
“I’m excited for them to get to play and to get out there,” said Canada. “That’s a long road back, as we all know, and it’s a challenging road.”
Players were not made available to the media on Tuesday.
The Terps are looking for their ninth consecutive season-opening victory. They upset the same Texas team last year in Austin in game one of 2017.
Saturday’s contest will be played at FedEx Field in Landover. Kickoff is set for Noon.