Maryland’s James Rosenberry chases Indiana Kick returnees Whop Philyor during the Terps’ 34:28 loss to the Hoosiers in October. 19, 2019. (Julia Nikhinson / The Diamondback)
Football in Maryland is used to stopping and starting at this point. The team’s pre-season training sessions were interrupted twice due to COVID-19 spikes. When their practices ceased in November. 11 they knew the procedure.
But with no organized practices and limited space for quarantine at the University of Maryland hotel, the squad found ways to stay sharp and pass the time. Some were doing pushups in their room. Some ran into the corridors. Some studied the playbook. Some took a nap. But they all missed the action on the field.
When the team resumed training on Monday, the group returned to work with newfound energy.
« We all hated just being cooped up, » said broad receiver Brian Cobbs. « We are very happy to be outside. ”
Since Nov. . 5, at least 23 players, and seven employees, including head coach Mike Locksley, have tested positive for COVID-19. The team’s games against No.. 3 Ohio State and Michigan State were canceled.
Although Locksley – who had mild symptoms – trained practically all week, he is expected to be back on the sidelines on Saturday.
The break also halted the Terps momentum built by victories against Minnesota and Penn State. Maryland scored at least 35 points in both competitions, and an early-fighting defense made a significant step forward against the Nittany Lions.
« I hope the youth can serve us well, » said Locksley. « It’s up to us to build our own momentum. Each game has its own shelf life, and this [week] is no different. ”
And with Maryland (2-1) potentially missing a significant portion of its roster due to COVID-19 logs from the Big Tens, Locksley may need to dig deep into his bench to keep his players fresh and execute his game plan against the maybe toughest opponent on his team, no. 12 Indiana.
The Hoosiers (4-1) will enter the competition on Saturday to recover from last week’s 42:35 loss to division leaders Buckeyes. Indiana was one of the conference’s biggest surprises in this abridged campaign, spearheaded by an explosive attack and an aggressive defense.
Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. . leads the Big Ten in several offensive categories and throws 1. 561 yards, 14 touchdowns and only four interceptions in five games. He’s backed by Ty Fryfogle, who hit a conference high of 642 yards and seven touchdowns this year, and Whop Philyor.
On the other side of the ball, Indiana has allowed the fourth lowest average points per game at 23. 8, in the Big Ten, leading the conference with 17 bags. That is thanks to a ruthless attacking Front 7, and Locksley said he expected the Hoosiers to put pressure about 80 percent of the time.
And while the Terps may be understaffed on this huge task, the team isn’t worried.
They are just glad to be out of the hotel and back on the grate.
« Everyone is happy to be back playing football, the game everyone loves, » said defender Antwaine Richardson.
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