Maryland coach Michael Locksley only got in bed at around 4 a.m. following his team’s Saturday night win over Charlotte.
Mere hours and a morning trip to church later, the coach was back at it with the rest of his staff reviewing the film from the game and preparing for their next challenge — a Friday night battle against Virginia.
While Sundays are usually off days for Maryland’s players, the short week necessitated a compressed schedule. Locksley pushed practice back a few hours into Sunday night to give his coaches more time to prepare.
The Terps treated Sunday like Monday, Monday like Tuesday and so on as they adjusted to the short week.
“For us, today is Wednesday,” Locksley said Tuesday. “... Friday will be Saturday, so we try to keep it consistent with our weekly prep and just know that the players lost the day of rest. … They’ll go 13 straight days before they get a break, which will be this Saturday,” Locksley said.
Some of the younger members of Locksley’s coaching staff spent the end of last week doing advance preparation for the Cavaliers, an 0-2 squad coming off a one-point loss to James Madison.
When asked if he prefers the change-of-pace Friday night games, Locksley answered quickly.
“No,” he said. “I am a creature of habit, as most coaches are. But I understand the benefit of it. So do I like it? No. Do I understand the benefit of us playing on Friday night, national TV? Yeah. So the benefits outweigh maybe some of the things that it affects in terms of how we prepare.”
The Terps will be on Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m. the week after being on NBC. Their game a week ago had the misfortune of going up against the Texas vs. Alabama game, one that led all Week 2 college football games with 8.76 million viewers, per SportsMediaWatch.com.
Maryland, meanwhile, recorded 665,000 viewers, in what SportsMediaWatch called “one of the smallest primetime sports audiences ever on the network (if not the lowest).”
There’s reason to believe the Friday time slot and a Power 5 opponent will benefit the Terps — Kansas vs. Illinois Friday night on ESPN2 had 1.36 million viewers. Maryland will be back on NBC in Week 4 for its Big Ten opener against Michigan State.
“Friday night gives us another opportunity to continue our quest to show that we’re not the same old Maryland,” Locksley said. “And I know our players are excited, once again, to be able to play in front of a national TV audience here at home. And it, again, puts the university at the forefront, where everyone across the country has an opportunity to see just what a great place we have here in the DMV.”
Maryland will also debut black versions of its Terps Script uniforms. The black jerseys sport white lettering with red trim with three stripes, and they will have a matching helmet.
“Oh, they’re one of a kind,” receiver Kaden Prather said. “You know, that’s a plus of coming to Maryland, the uniforms, and that’s exactly what I was looking for.”
Prather receiving and rewarding trust
Prather has made some kind of mistake in each of Maryland’s games this year. He dropped a pass when he was wide open against Towson and committed offensive pass interference — albeit on a much-debated call — to negate a touchdown catch at the end of the first half against Charlotte.
But in both games quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa returned to the former West Virginia receiver for touchdowns.
“Whether they drop a ball or I miss a throw or whatever, we have playmakers and there’s a reason why they’re on the field,” the quarterback said. “... I know they’re going to give that 100 percent. I’m always going to try to find a way to get the ball to our playmakers.”
Prather’s score against Charlotte came even as the cornerback lined up about 7 yards away from the line of scrimmage. Quarterbacks usually look the other way when defensive backs playing a deep third of the field start in off coverage, Prather said, but Tagovailoa trusted his man.
He was right to. Prather outraced the defender, caught the 40-yard bomb and slid into the end zone.
“What makes a receiver a good deep threat is pretty much all about confidence,” Prather said. “... When the ball’s in the air, you have to tell yourself that it’s yours.”
Does Prather believe that? As he put it when asked about Tagovailoa’s trust in him on that play: “Results are results.”
Nickels and Dimes
- Locksley said he expects offensive tackle Gottlieb Ayedze to play Friday. Ayedze has yet to play for the Terps since transferring from Frostburg State.
- Avantae Williams did not register a snap for the second straight game, per Pro Football Focus.
- Maryland has won 10 straight games against nonconference opponents, the third-longest active streak in FBS.