COLLEGE PARK, Md. — In just a few short days Maryland stadium should be rocking as the University of Maryland opens up the season against West Virginia on Saturday. For the first time in a long time the Terrapins will have a returning starter under center.
Taulia Tagovailoa is entering his second season as Maryland's quarterback. WMAR was the only Baltimore station to go 1-on-1 with the Terps QB on Tuesday. WMAR-2 Sports Reporter Shawn Stepner caught up with the junior who led the Big Ten last season averaging 13.48 yards per completion. That was after a whirlwind introduction to his new program. The pandemic affected so much of the 2020 college football schedule. This year is totally different.
How much more prepared does he feel this year before game one as opposed to last year?
"I feel a lot better. We had a full camp, full offseason and just with the guys returning on the offensive line - really our whole team on defense and on offense - just the bond we built together we feel more like family," he said. "Just the hard work we put in the offseason, I feel like all our guys are getting closer. We understand the playbook more. So, I think there is more confidence going into this game than last year."
Tagovailoa is on multiple preseason watch lists as expectations on him continue to rise. He’s also the younger brother of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua. He knows all eyes will be watching him as the season begins.
How does he handle the pressure?
"I think the people that I’m surrounded with, my family at home, the coaches up here, my teammates, they all keep me humble and keep me level-headed and stuff like that. So, I think that’s the biggest thing."
West Virginia is no easy game to start the season. What does he see in the Terps' game one opponent?
"West Virginia is a very great team. They do a lot of things on defense. They are very aggressive to the ball, great coaching," he said. "We just got to stay disciplined in what we do and do what our coaches tell us to do and I feel like we’ll be good."
Tagovailoa said he is focused in and studying his playbook this week before kickoff arrives Saturday at 3:30 p.m.