Maryland’s challenge grows even greater Saturday, when the Terps (4-7, 2-5) could be without two of their top defensive playmakers. Linebacker Darin Drakeford will miss the game with a head injury and defensive lineman Joe Vellano is doubtful, having played on a sprained ankle since the Georgia Tech game on Nov. 3. Should Drakeford and Vellano, who are tied for the team lead with six sacks apiece, each be sidelined, Maryland will be without three of its four captains
“It hasn’t happened too much in history, but at the same time it’s a possibility,” said wide receiver Kevin Dorsey, the Terps’ lone healthy captain. “Unfortunately it happened to us this year. But through all the ups and downs, I recently sat on the field, I forget what practice it was, but I was laying in the ground, looked up at the sky and thanked God for the opportunity. Just being able to play the game, it means more than anything else.”
All week, Dorsey has told his teammates to find one aspect they’ve struggled with all season and “make this the staple game where you fix it.” For Dorsey, who had two catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns against Florida State, this means fine-tuning routes and increasing consistency. For others, like Petty, it’s eliminating self-imposed mistakes.
Even with a bowl game out of Maryland’s reach, Dorsey still hasn’t seen a lackluster attitude around the team. During a recent practice, he and freshman Stefon Diggs were both running go routes. Dorsey smiled to Diggs, Maryland’s electric wide receiver and top candidate for ACC freshman of the year honors, and said, “Want to race?”
The tendency to wonder “what if” may be great for these Terps. Stemming back to the preseason ACL tear suffered by C.J. Brown, the expected starter at quarterback, Maryland has been a lesson in absurdity. Had 11 players not suffered season-ending injuries, then maybe the Terps would be playing for something greater than pride against North Carolina. But that’s not reality.
“You think about it, but every time it always comes down to the same answer,” Dorsey said. “That’s life and that’s the game of football.”