The Maryland football team held a brief players-only meeting before practice on Tuesday morning, where they tried to purge any negativity that might still be lingering from last Saturday’s 45-6 loss to West Virginia.

Place kicker Brad Craddock, considered the team’s foremost leader  was among those who spoke.

“I think the biggest message is, we have to our jobs individually. No excuses,” Craddock said. “We still got a big season to play. Last week has happened and it’s done. We wanted to make sure we cut any negativity out before practice started today.”

The meeting was informal and lasted just 10 minutes, Craddock said. Coach Randy Edsall told reporters on a Big Ten conference call that he was unaware of the meeting, but Craddock said the chat was not unusual. He said the team has had “a lot” of players-only meetings during the spring and summer, adding that the sessions helped “get the team right.”

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The meeting, however, underscored the urgency facing the program as it prepares for Saturday’s visit from No. 23 Michigan in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

“I think this week, we’re really focusing on the details,” Maryland tight end Avery Edwards said.

Maryland (2-2) will have to shore up a number of issues to have a chance to upset one of the country’s hottest teams. The Terps rank 116th out of 128 Football Bowl Subdivision teams with 9.3 penalties per game, and self-inflicted errors (10 penalties, six turnovers) doomed them last week. The defense, which has given up more than 600 yards in two games already this season, will have to adjust to Michigan’s pro-style offense after being shredded by West Virginia’s Air Raid.

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“Just [trying] to get the kids to understand, play hard but play smart. And use good fundamentals and techniques,” Edsall said. “If we do that, that should eliminate those issues.”

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Edsall is sticking by redshirt junior quarterback Caleb Rowe, who after a lackluster performance last week will face the country’s second-ranked defense on Saturday. Michigan (3-1), which shut out BYU, 31-0, last week, is allowing just 203.8 yards per game and starts seven seniors on defense. It also has the country’s fourth-ranked scoring defense, averaging 9.5 points allowed through the first four games.

Craddock has become one of the country’s top kickers because of his ability to respond after adversity hits, and he has applied that same approach to his leadership duties this week.

“For us, it’s doing our thing and playing our game, and at the end of the day being happy with how we play,” Craddock said.

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