COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The last time we saw the Maryland Terrapins football team they were the talk of the Big Ten, punishing Penn State with a 35-19 win on Nov. 7, improving to 2-1.
Two game cancelations (Ohio State and Michigan State) because of COVID-19 later and after a two week pause of practices due to player positives, they are finally back at it. The team returned to the practice field on Monday.
"I know yesterday was a spirited practice for them," said Head Coach Mike Locksley. "They came out and had high energy throughout the course of it."
But practices this week do not include Locksley. He is one of several Terps who tested positive for COVID. He remains isolated at his home, working virtually, watching a live stream of practice while communicating with his staff in real time.
"All the symptoms have been mild for the most part," he said. "Right now I feel really strong. I feel normal. Maybe a little bit more fatigued but that might be just from being stuck in the house in a room by myself."
Locksley plans on coaching the Terps (2-1) Saturday at Indiana (4-1). He hopes to see that momentum from the previous couple of wins carry over for his relatively young team against the No. 12 Hoosiers.
"Missing two weeks of work, I hope the youth serves us well," he said. "Sometimes when you’re young they don’t realize that you need to play every week. It’s up to us to build our own momentum."
A step toward pulling the upset in Bloomington is picking up where they left off on offense. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 676 yards over the past two games. That is the most by a Terps QB in back-to-back wins in 26 years. Receiver Brian Cobbs said Monday’s practice was a little rusty but nothing to be worried about.
"Kind of him timing when we get out of our routes and then us knowing where he’s going to throw the ball," said Cobbs regarding the rust at practice. "But overall, it felt like we hadn’t fallen off at all and we were kind of starting back up where we left off."
Back to the COVID situation, with the number of positives within the team over the past couple of weeks and the timing of those positive tests, up to 23 players could miss this weekend’s game. 15 players will be sidelined for sure.