Right here are a few things Michael Locksley mentioned Tuesday, it all honest, all with a immediately face.
“We’re no longer going to sneak up on any one. We’re going to get everyone’s very best model.”
This, simply two video games into his tenure because the soccer trainer on the College of Maryland, which spent the former 8 years going 38-61, infrequently worthy of an opponent’s very best model, too often wandering the varsity soccer wasteland, inappropriate.
“We’re satisfied as a staff so as to make our supporters and our lovers and our scholars on campus be ok with our program.”
This, no longer even a 12 months and a half of after the demise of freshman offensive lineman Jordan McNair left the athletic division in disarray, making investigations and panels extra essential than sport plans and workforce.
“On Monday, I requested our staff, ‘Is any one stunned with what we’re doing?’ And no one raised their hand.”
Forestall proper there. That is me, over right here, with my hand within the air. Means up within the air, stretching prime.
If Locksley and his Terrapins noticed no longer best this 2-Zero get started, however a 2-Zero get started in an attention-getting taste — which we’ll get to — then just right for them. Not anything of importance about faculty soccer is made up our minds in September, however Locksley already has achieved what gave the impression just about not possible even 3 weeks in the past. He has drawn consideration — sure consideration — to a program that, thru mismanagement and ultimately tragedy, had way back misplaced its approach.
Now, let’s be transparent: Wins over Howard and Syracuse don’t imply the Terps have reconfigured the School Soccer Playoff image, nor do the ones effects even imply they’ll beat Temple on Saturday in Philadelphia.
What the ones two wins — through the incredible blended ranking of 142-20 — have achieved is put the Terps at No. 21 on this week’s Related Press ballot, upper than they’ve been since 2006. That rating doesn’t imply a lot. What does: There is not only optimism, however a freshness round Maryland that most likely hasn’t existed for the reason that fall of 2001, when a former Terps lineman named Ralph Friedgen returned to his alma mater and gained his first seven video games en path to the ACC championship and a berth within the Orange Bowl.
So there’s a balancing act right here for Locksley: Clutch the day, as a result of even a sliver of the highlight so infrequently falls to the Terrapins. But in addition warning that even a 63-20 lambasting of in the past ranked (however in all probability mediocre) Syracuse doesn’t imply this Titanic has became totally round.
“We’re on a adventure presently as a program,” Locksley mentioned Tuesday at Maryland Stadium. “We’re at forestall two of a 12-day adventure. . . . It’s like riding from California to D.C. You hop to your automobile, and Day One and Day Two, are we satisfied we’re in Phoenix? Yeah, we didn’t get a flat tire. We didn’t have an twist of fate. However it’s nonetheless best Day Two of a 12-day adventure. We’ve were given numerous the go back and forth left.”
That’s what a trainer is meant to mention, albeit just a little bit extra creatively than, say, Nick Saban, Locksley’s outdated boss at Alabama, can have presented it. (Saban might or won’t were in Phoenix for a School Soccer Playoff sport one day. He can’t say for sure, what together with his blinders blocking off the view.)
However with best Temple status between the Terps and what may well be an electrical, throwback date for Maryland soccer — Sept. 27, a Friday night time house date in opposition to Penn State in what had higher be a sold-out stadium — let’s be transparent about why there may be hope right here. It’s no longer simply the wins. It’s how Locksley’s Terps did it. (And, sure, this all comes with the needful small-sample-size alert.)
Thru two video games, no staff within the nation is averaging extra issues (71.Zero) or has scored extra touchdowns (20) than Maryland. Simply 3 groups are averaging greater than the Terps’ 335.five dashing yards consistent with sport. Thru two video games, Maryland has had 19 first-half possessions. 11 have ended with touchdowns. That’s no longer best efficient. It’s entertaining, which issues, specifically for Terps lovers who continued the nails-on-the-chalkboard tenures of Randy Edsall and DJ Durkin.
“I don’t suppose we’re stunned,” mentioned quarterback Josh Jackson, the switch from Virginia Tech who has successfully operated the offense.
Perhaps that’s true about themselves. Everybody else is welcome to be.
Both approach, those first two video games permit the thoughts — the fan’s thoughts, a minimum of — to head puts it shouldn’t. Beat Temple, or even a loss to Penn State will get the Terps to Three-1. Of the next 4 video games — at Rutgers, at Purdue, house in opposition to Indiana and at Minnesota — when will Maryland be a vital underdog? Is there, gulp, a trail to 7-1 and bowl eligibility prior to the season-ending gantlet of Michigan, at Ohio State, Nebraska and at Michigan State?
Certain, simply two weeks in, that’s getting forward of ourselves. The purpose is that Locksley, his workforce and those children have made Maryland soccer worthy of such idle hypothesis. That’s a a long way cry from the hot arguments, which principally amounted to which coaches and directors must be allowed to stick and who must be kicked to the curb.
There should be causes for a way a program that were outlined through the misdeeds and misjudgments that resulted in McNair’s demise is now injected with an power no longer noticed since Friedgen’s days, and the ones causes can’t merely be Locksley and his workforce. Sure, they introduced in an inventive and numerous offensive gadget and added grad transfers who subject: Jackson, positive, but in addition linebacker Shaq Smith (Clemson), tight finish Tyler Mabry (Buffalo) and linebacker Keandre Jones (Ohio State).
However what Locksley present in School Park used to be other from what maximum coaches going thru a transition to find: gamers.
“For the way other folks noticed our program, it wasn’t as unhealthy as other folks would have sought after to make it out to be,” Locksley mentioned. “I believed DJ and his workforce did a really perfect process of recruiting. They introduced in the proper of youngsters, for essentially the most phase. We haven’t had a host of fellows that we needed to do away with or run off.”
So right here we’re in September of Locksley’s 12 months One, focusing no longer at the barriers of Maryland’s systems, however at the chances. What’s the ceiling for this staff?
“I suppose we’ll to find out,” Jackson mentioned.
For as soon as at Maryland, that adventure may well be amusing.