Everything Mike Locksley said following Maryland’s 42-14 win vs. Virginia

For the second consecutive week, Maryland overcome an early 14-0 deficit as 42 unanswered points guided head coach Mike Locksley’s team to a 42-14 win in the annual Blackout Game inside SECU Stadium.

Maryland finished with 461 yards of total offense as quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa recorded his 13th career 300-yard passing game, while generating for fourth quarter turnovers. Cornerback Tarheeb Still came down with two, including one in the redzone in a one-touchdown game to open the fourth quarter, while outside linebacker Donnell Brown came down with his second interception in the second straight game.

“Got to give Virginia credit. Came out, did a pretty good job in the first quarter of jumping out to a 14 0-lead but once again, we responded. And as I told our team, I think I have enough proof that we’re a team that’s built to overcome adversity and I don’t think I need to see us down 14-0 anymore to know that we’re capable,” Locksley said following the win.

“Our defense did a tremendous job, shut out the last three quarters, getting the ball back to our offense with those turnovers, came up big. Offensively, we’re able to manufacture some explosive plays, which when you look at our skill set, that’s, that’s what we expect. And we were able to get explosive plays today, especially there after we kind of got started in the second quarter.”

Everything that head coach Mike Locksley said following the win, including defensive adjustments, how QB Taulia Tagovailoa fared, impression of Virginia QB Anthony Colandrea and Braden Wisloski’s kickoff return touchdown.

Opening statement [cont.]

“And then obviously on special teams, any time special teams can set up a score or, or score. And the true freshman there, Braden Wisloski. I’m sure a bunch of people question ‘hey, why is this guy back there?’ Especially after the first two decisions he made on those first returns. But the only third one you saw while we did. He’s the guy that has the ability to make explosive plays.

He did it a bunch doing training camp and so we’re looking for a guy that can give us a spark in the special teams return game. He was able to do that and he kind of got us going. But obviously we’re not playing our best football. And for me, there’s some things I can do better to help us get off to a faster start and I’ll get those things done here this week as we go ahead up into conference play. It’s always good to be able to make corrections after winning. I can tell you, we’re still not playing our best football, but yet we’re able to. You know, I think 69 to 7 after the first quarter, the last couple of games.

That’s a tremendous sign for us as a program. We’re going to build off this and get ready for conference play. It’s always tough in the Big Ten on the road. So, we’ve got our work cut out for us, but I know we’re looking forward to getting back in here on Monday get this one behind us and start preparing for conference play.”

Locksley on four takeaways in the fourth quarter

“Our defense, for me, has been a little frustrating because I know how good we can be on defense, and we tend to give up, I call it, dumb yardage. 3rd-and-22, throw a hitch and get sucked in. Those plays are the ones that stick in my crawl a little bit but one of the things they’ve shown and they’ve shown it the last couple of years here is that, they make the adjustments in the second half. We’ve kind of become that bend, don’t break, holding the field goals in the red area but this week, we’re very fortunate, you know, [Tarheeb Still] came up big with the interception there. We had just moved them into the nickel position because he hadn’t played a lot of slot corner for us all year. We moved them in there and he made a tremendous play in the end zone, which couldn’t have come at a bigger time for us.”

Locksley on the impact of Wisloski’s return TD

“When you win in a kicking game, and as I like to say to our kicking special teams, they either need to set up or they need to score and that’s winning the vertical field position. With them going up 14-0, that return couldn’t have come at a better time for us and it was tremendous effort on Braden’s part, getting it to the point of attack, and then he finished it. At one point, it looked like the guy had a chance to tackle him, he outran the angle, and [the] kid has tremendous speed, tremendous heart, and I was glad to see him finish it and make a play. But it was much needed and I think it jumpstarted us as a team.”

Locksley on the message to the team at halftime

“We teach and say the same things. I mean, we go in and it’s 0-0 cause it’s 14-14 and you know, our standard is we don’t watch the scoreboard and even myself, I try not to ever look up to even know what the score is because it really doesn’t matter until it’s the end of it. And at halftime, the big thing for us was, it was still Terps versus Terps. I mean, we blow a coverage again on the flea flicker. On offense, we come in and we’re not in rhythm and that’s where I said there’s some things that I can do better to get us in rhythm on offense. Because we’ve traditionally, we’ve been a fast start offense and for whatever reason these last two games we haven’t been. There’s some things we’ll get done this week to try to figure out a way to get us playing better in the first quarter, especially on offense.”

Locksley on what needs to happen for a fast start

“It’s about rhythm, number one. This week we dealt with some guys that missed a couple of days of practice because of some injuries from the last game. And, you know, we’re a team, especially some of these new guys that are just getting into our system on the offensive side. We’re a team, these guys need those reps. And I think what it shows us is that if a guy isn’t healthy enough to practice enough to get the necessary reps that he’s going to need to perform his job then we got to make sure we got the right guys out there. And then, whether it’s some things I can do in practice in terms of flipping how we start, we are traditionally a team that does individual, then we do group and we do team. And maybe we need to start off doing team periods first to just kind of change up the pace. But for us, it’s about rhythm. And if you look at us on offense, we haven’t been in the type of rhythm with the speed of how we play getting lined up. [Taulia Tagovailoa] plays better that way. He’s a fast break point guard that needs the run and we aren’t getting lined up the way we need to and obviously I didn’t feel like we had a great rhythm on offense early. Once we got started, as you can see, we had the ability to make big plays.”

Locksley on Taulia’s 3rd down sack and how he’s grown

“To take a sack there when we’re in what we call scoring position. First thing I asked him when he came over, I said, self-correct because one of the things I got to do with Lia, because he can become emotional, especially when he knows he’s made a bad play, is to take the emotion out of the play. I said self correct and he said bonehead play…like that’s one of those examples of him not giving up on the play and we’ve coached them up on know dirt the ball, let’s kick the field goal, let’s keep the momentum. And so it was great for him to be able to self-correct without me having to have that type of conversation.

The next piece when you talk about what how has he easy grown the most, I think it’s just that ability to communicate when it comes off what he didn’t do right, what he did wrong, and then also keep his emotions about him to where the next series, if he doesn’t let one play, one bad play become two.”

Locksley on defensive giving up score on the opening drive for the second consecutive week

“It’s not schematic. It’s execution, you know? Whether we win the toss or we don’t, we typically want to defer because we try to get that two-score swing that’s common when you defer. Nobody likes the way we’ve played defense in the first couple of drives the last couple of games. And as I said, there’s some things that I’ll have to do and some adjustments we’ll make to figure out how to get us playing better early. But again, I gotta give our defense staff credit. They get it corrected, they get those things adjusted out and then they settle in and we start playing good sound team defense.”

Locksley on Virginia QB Anthony Colandrea

“He reminded me of a young Taulia Tagovailoa.  I mean, the thing about this guy, and it was frustrating for me and kind of going crazy on the headsets is that they wanted to get him out of the pocket for a reason. I mean, he’s maybe vertically challenged a little bit as a quarterback, so to get the ball on the edge, he’s dangerous. And so for us, we’ve got to contain the football. You’ve heard me say that the last couple of weeks. When you lose contain on defense, it’s like a turnover on offense because big plays usually come from it and we haven’t done a great job with our containment and to me, we’ve got to get that fixed. Once we kind of saw how they wanted to attack us, I thought [Brian Williams did a better job. We got some wide ends instead of being in six and seven techniques. We played a little wider to contain them. We level rushed it instead of getting up the field. But, I mean, he’s a good young football player, man. It’ll give people trouble because of his ability to extend and throw.”

Locksley on 3rd down call overturned and materializing into a TD

“That play was, number one, I was emotional because, we saw that up top that he had gotten the first down. Usually they buzz down to tell their officials, hey, confirm or not. Nobody buzzed down. So I used a timeout to say I want to, you know, I want to challenge it and find out, I guess, the officials headsets weren’t working properly. And luckily, you know, we did make the time out. Matty Ice, who helps us with some of the game analytics stuff, was on top of it. And it was great to be able to get it overturned. But the very next play, I thought Josh [Gattis] did a really good job of calling a play that had been set up all game long. We ran the naked, set up, double move on the outside. and Lia and Jeshaun [Jones] connected like we saw them do in practice.”

Locksley on rushing attack

“I thought early on, again, we maybe missed a few cuts, missed a few reads early in the game that could have amounted to some explosive plays. We have a group of guys back there that are all very capable power runners. They run downhill behind the pads really well and they really complement each other in terms of, you know, Antwain [Littleton], Roman [Hemby] and Colby [McDonald]. And it’s been great to see Colby kind of be a spark plug force off the bench. To have four rushing touchdowns, we wanted to run the ball down in that area and I thought we did a better job this week of finishing and being able to finish in the end zone.”

Locksley on RB Roman Hemby

“The best thing about it is that he took what the defense gave him. I haven’t had a chance to look at his production yet, but Roman is one of those guys that we count on. He’s one of those big play guys that when we gameplan, we want to figure out ways to keep him and get him involved. He’s a leader for us. As I always say, he’s smart, tough, and he’s reliable. It’s always good to see him respond the right way and I know our team kind of looks to him, even as a, a young player to be kind of that leader for us and he’s been steady at it. It’s great to see him continue some production for us.”

Locksley on Virginia WR Malik Washington

“He made a bunch of plays for them. Some of them were, like I said, on us as Terps, but he’s a good player. I know he transferred in from Northwestern. His quickness, his short area quickness, and he really was a guy we had to find a way to contain. I know we didn’t do it early and he made a couple of big plays on third down and those are the things we got to get fixed.”

Related Links

Instant reactions: Maryland 42, Virginia 14

Maryland football releases injury report vs. Virginia

Priority target Matthew Hodge heads to Maryland for official visit

Maryland vs. Virginia: how to watch, listen, odds, storylines to follow

The list: flip targets among recruits visiting Maryland for Virginia game (+)