BALTIMORE, Md. — Returning to play took a big step in College Park this week. University of Maryland football players are back.
"I told our team it’s a crawl, walk, jog, run process to be able to get us back to the point where we can go out and play games," said Terps head coach Mike Locksley.
Locksley said over 100 of his players have been taking part in individual workouts since they started on Monday. It's part of phase one of the school’s gradual return to campus for student-athletes.
"Through the month of June is voluntary workouts. Our strength coaches can monitor, can give them the workouts and basically be there to support them," said Locksley. "Small groups. Six-to-one ratio with our strength coaches. Trying to rotate 105 guys through lifting and conditioning program throughout the day."
All workouts are taking place outside with supervision. Face coverings are provided. Athletes and staff are taking several coronavirus safety precautions.
All this is taking place against the backdrop of the recent protests across the country. Locksley has discussed with his team recognizing social injustice and racial inequality.
"For me it’s been all about education," he said. "This racism has kind of been the taboo of things that it’s been tough to talk about. So, what we’re going to try to do, and what I’ve been trying to do as the leader, is to put together some programming because it takes all of us to end it. It isn’t just a black thing."
Beginning Monday Locksley is set to take part in another discussion, one aimed at helping minority offensive football coaches in the NCAA and NFL. He’ll be speaking during the third annual Quarterback Coaching Summit, put on by the National Football League and Black College Football Hall of Fame. This year it will be held virtually from June 22-23. He said it’s a way to give back.
"Trying to provide opportunities for minority quarterback coaches, coordinators to maybe help open up this pipeline to afford opportunities like I’ve been blessed to be able to have."
Locksley will be presenting on the topic of coaching and recruiting today’s athlete.