Everything Maryland head coach Mike Locksley said following the win vs. Indiana

Maryland football moved to 5-0 following a dominant 44-17 win vs. Indiana on Saturday in the most complete game of the season, riding a dominant first half into the second half to stile the Hoosiers. Everything that head coach Mike Locksley said following Maryland’s win vs. Indiana:

Opening statement

First I want to start off by, as a football family, we want to send some prayers out to Todd and TeLethea Bozeman. Coach Bozeman is a great friend of mine. He and his wife lost their son Blake a week ago and I’ve talked to him quite a bit this week but the Maryland football family, we want to send our prayers out to them and their support with losing a child and so start there. As far as the game, we talked earlier in the week about enjoying wins, and we’re gonna enjoy this one. So whatever questions y’all ask me, I ain’t going down the negative rabbit hole with yall. We’re 5-0, 4-0 at home 2-0 in the Big Ten and I couldn’t be prouder of this team. This is a really close knit group that just plays. Same time, you know, still just the beginning. We still got some work to do. We’ve got a tremendous challenge coming up this upcoming week, which I know that our guys are excited for. I thought today was probably the most complete game that we played in all three phases. Started fast finished strong. Playing to our standard. And usually if you play the standard, you usually end up with the win. And today, we were fortunate to be able to do that. We got the running game going in the second half so that you don’t have to ask me about Roman Hemby. We got the running game going. Roman made some plays, [Antwain Littleton] made some plays. Still got some things to clean up there but I thought when we needed to, we were able to run the ball there to use up some clock. We’ll get the stuff cleaned up. We got a special opportunity on the road next week and have a chance finish this thing the right way.

On WR Tai Felton’s career day 

“Just the way we call the game. Obviously we tried to get our playmakers involved. And you know, the irony of a guy like Tai is, I think as coaches we think more highly of Tai than sometimes I think that he does of himself. He’s a talented player and our receiving core as a whole, as a group that, I think has the ability to any one of those guys, from Tai to Tyrese to Jeshaun to Kaden Prather, all those guys are talented enough to have that type of game. And I’m glad that Tai was able to do it because I think this one may do wonders for the confidence he needs to play with. And he’s a really talented player, great speed, has the ability to make plays and I’m hoping today kind of jumpstart him to where that becomes the standard for him and how he can play for us.”

On another fast start on both sides of the ball

“The way we practice, some of the things as I said a couple of weeks ago, we got back to some of the good-on-good stuff. We actually added a period at the start of practice where we had the one [offense] go against the one [defense]. It was up tempo so you know, this is the generation. They get bored with the details and basics so just by flipping kind of how we started practice this week on Tuesday, which Tuesday’s usually a really tough practice for our guys. We threw the ones and the ones out there to start it out the stretch, really competitive period, kind of got us going. When they play against each other good-on-good, they get out of that mentality that you have when you work against the developmental team. So I think a little bit of those things played a part but also think that it’s the maturity that this team has to take the coaching and go out and execute.”

On defense’s growth through the first five games

“We play a lot of players and I know, you know what, statistically that may be hurt some guys. You look to see that guys aren’t having the gaudy stats that allow them to maybe have the individual accolades but football is the ultimate team sport. And I think it shows when I talk about that brotherhood that we’ve created with this team, there is not a guy here. When we’re subbing guys in and out there, they’re excited for each other. They’re happy when other guys are out there making plays. It helps us because as we know, this is a really physical sport. And you know, during the course of a season, guys don’t make it through and we’ve got to have guys that have game reps, that have the ability to be the next man up and come in and execute. We’ve been able to do that and whether it’s anywhere in that front seven and even on the back end some.”

On confidence for Maryland following a dominant win

“It’s a momentum game going into it. You know what, not one person this week said a word about who we played this week. Ohio State didn’t come up one time this week. And to me that shows the maturity I think of this team because as we always try to say to faceless and nameless, this was a great opportunity to create some momentum and have confidence going into a tough place to play against a really talented team. But you know what? I think this team is just young and dumb enough to show up and play like they are capable of playing and we see what happens.”

On six total touchdowns from QB Taulia Tagovailoa, whether best ever game

“I wouldn’t go there yet. He’s is a talented player. He played really well today, played mistake-free football for the most part.  How he goes, we go and when he’s in rhythm, and today we got him going in rhythm early starting with the big play down the sideline to Jeshaun [Jones]. He’s that type of guy man. You know, some guys are shooters, some guys are scorers and he got that scoring mentality that when we play in rhythm, and the calls are coming in and our guys are getting lined up, the scheme allows quarterbacks to find really talented players and a bunch of guys showed up made plays for us. I know Lia gets a ton of credit but I’m sure he’ll tell you that some of those receivers and tight ends and the [offensive] line did a really good job as well.”

On whether Saturday’s win showed what the standard looks like

“[The] standard is the standard and when they put it on, we know that we’re capable of doing this. When we play tough games, very few times will it be because of our opponent. It’ll be all about what we do or don’t do. As I’ve said before, I really like this team man. They are fun to coach. You know what, they pull for each other, they’ve got a tremendous brotherhood that’s been created where they don’t want to let each other down. Ain’t even about letting us down as coaches. It’s about that brotherhood. I’ve seen it starting in January. You know what, I don’t know where it’s gonna take us but I do know for today, we’re 5-0. These kids believe in what we’re doing. They’re all bought in and you know what? Gotta give them credit.”

On TE Dylan Wade’s first career TD

“Well, he’s more of a funny guy than he is a leader. So everybody was happy to see him score because he going to say or do something crazy. But no, as a young guy, he is a guy that really competitive personality. Not afraid to be a leader as a young player sometimes maybe talks a little too much but that’s the fun part about seeing these guys grow up and grow up quick. With Corey [Dyches] going out in the second half, it opened up an opportunity. I’ve been saying that tight end room is a lot like the running back room was a year ago, where people say we lost a guy that maybe play some plays for us, but I see number 17 Rico Walker out there making plays and playing a lot of reps. I see 85 [Preston Howard] leaping in urban over people. And now you see 18 [Dylan Wade]. Coach Sumlin’s got a talented room there. AJ Syzmanski’s played in short yardage situations for us. We just got to keep bringing those young guys along. We’ll need them.”

On the impact of Maryland’s 5-0 start

“I don’t know about the national perspective, but I know for us and in the building, the Jones-Hill House, I don’t think there’s anybody in here to surprised. I said this to my team a week ago or during the week that, how many of y’all didn’t expect to be at this position, the position we’re in. And not many people raise their hand, nobody raised their hands. So our expectation is the one that counts and matters most and I can tell you that, as I said man, this team is fun to coach. They show up. They don’t care who the opponent is. We had probably one of our best weeks of practice going into this game and I’m hoping to build on that this week. Enjoy the win tonight. Get about 24 hours to celebrate it and get in here tomorrow as a staff and start the game planning and thanks for the opportunity we have coming up next Saturday.”

On the confidence in WR Tai Felton

“It’s not a challenge, man. It’s just sometimes some guys are alpha males and some guys kind of ease their way into situations. Tai is one of those guys that doesn’t say a lot but he blocks, he runs routes. He’s explosive as a receiver. So when I say that, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think he thinks he sucks. I mean, I think just for me, I know he’s capable because I see him do it all the time. He’s had some opportunity and games with some 50-50 balls that he hadn’t come up with. We’re one of those things we got guys wide open and we fall down for no reason. But today he made those plays and I think and hope that it’s able to jumpstart a confidence that he needs that. I like those receivers that beg for the ball. He’s one of those guys that really he won’t say anything. If he doesn’t get a catch, he’ll do his job but I’m glad to see him make those plays and hopefully it ignites him to play that play like alpha man.”

On four scoring drives under one minutes

“The players went out and executed. I do think a couple of series we, the one that jumps out is right before the half. I would have loved an opportunity to send Jack [Howes] out to kick it. We had a play call where we wanted to catch it, steal as many yards, get out of bounds and we missed that at the end. But the players executed, our defense put us in great position on the offensive side of the ball. I mean, we had a time of possession that was like, we didn’t have the ball very much but we had short fields. We created explosive plays. I don’t know how many we got today, but our goal is to try to create at least 12 explosives and I thought we did a really good job of creating those type of plays.”

On reaching 5-0 in year five as a head coach

“I think the biggest thing is that it validates me. I got a boss that took a chance and hired me, gave me a chance. I’ve been a failed head coach and Damon [Evans] hired me and gave me this opportunity and all he’s done and him and Colleen [Sorem] give me the resources that I need to be able to put a team together like this one. Are we there yet? No, but the validation for me is the fact that we as a program working with Damon, Colleen and my team, the support staff. We all worked together to get this program to where it is today. And you know what, there are a lot of people that didn’t think we could do this. Are we there yet? No, I mean, we got work to do. But I’m not gonna get negative we’re 5-0. We’re gonna keep this thing going and we’re gonna keep plugging away man.”

On where he’s most confident going into Ohio State

“I think the momentum that we were able to create. Does it guarantee that we’re gonna come out and play this way next week? No, but if we put together a good week of practice like we had this past week. I had a lot of people texting me and even coach [Ralph] Friedgen texted me right before the game. It was like, hey, man. I can hear his voice like ‘hey, this is the one of those games you got to make sure they’re ready to play’ and I texted coach and they’re ready coach. And it put us in a position to have the opportunity. We created momentum and that’s to me what it’s all about. But we still got put some work in this week. We’ve got a tremendous challenge. We’re excited about the challenge. As I said before, the opponents gotta be faceless and nameless. We won’t prepare any differently for Ohio State than we did this week. And that’s what this standard is all about. Keep trying to plug away and you know what, players make plays and coaches got to do a good job of putting them in position to do it. And who knows, maybe we’ll go up to Columbus to see how it plays out.”

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