Everything Mike Locksley said following Maryland’s loss vs. Illinois

Two weeks after playing their most complete game of the season inside SECU Stadium, Maryland football suffered its second consecutive loss on Saturday as a last-second field goal handed the Terps a 27-24 defeat.

Everything that head coach Mike Locksley said following Saturday’s troubling loss.

Opening statement 

“I’ll start, one, by giving credit obviously to Illinois. They played hard as I expected that they would but as I sit here or stand here before you, the more I play this thing back in my head even now, what happened today had very few things to do with Illinois. It goes back to what I always say, it’s gonna be us versus us and we didn’t play very well in any of the three phases. Offensively, to not score there before the half, to be inefficient on third down, not come away with touchdowns when we get into that red area. Defensively gave up too many explosive plays there at the end. And then special teams, kept providing momentum for the other team with the returns that we had. So our standard doesn’t change when we win or when we lose. It stays and remains the same. Obviously we got a bye week looking at us this week, get some guys healthy back out there guys that we need while also taking a look at all the things we do offensively, defensively, special teams quality control it and get this thing back on track and back in rhythm. This thing starts and ends with me as the leader. I’ve got to have our team prepared to go play. We don’t make excuses. We did not play to our standard and it’s frustrating to watch because I still have a lot of faith and belief in his team. As I just told them, the adversity that we find ourselves in the day, we put ourselves there so the only people that can get us out of it is us and we’ll use this next week to just evaluate every part of our program like we would always do during the bye week and then obviously like I say, get some guys healthy in turn to get us ready to go to Chicago and play Northwestern in a couple of weeks. I still got a lot of faith in his team. There’s still a lot of football left to be played. All of our goals are still ahead of us. But we’ve made it a little more difficult for ourselves and we got to do the work that’s necessary to get us going back in the right direction.

On decision to run the ball on 3rd-and-6 late in the fourth quarter

“Any time we make calls like that it’s easy for us to second guess them. It’s obviously something that we prepared for. We have runs on third and medium based on the front and based on the defense that we expect to get. Again, I’d like to see us find ways to be more efficient on third and medium, whether it’s run or throw. And when you go back and evaluate whether the run was effective or not, a lot of the times we had some breakdowns there. We got to take a look and see what happened. I can’t tell you exactly what happened other than we didn’t block it very well and we didn’t make the make a play or third and medium which we have to be able to do and we’ve been really good at.”

On considering throwing the ball

“There’s always consideration. Like I said when we go to third medium, we have calls on both sides of the thing. Third and medium runs, third and medium pass, we made the decision to run and it didn’t work. So that goes back to myself as the leader. I gotta give us a better player or put us in a better position in that situation.”

On whether he was settling for a field goal 

“We stay aggressive. For us to make that call was because we obviously expected a look and we didn’t get the look maybe and we didn’t run efficient. We didn’t block it the way it probably should be blocked. I hate commenting on it because I don’t know and didn’t see the play per se to see where it was a breakdown. But I can tell you every play is designed to work and we got a blocker for everybody typically. Obviously somewhere down the line we didn’t make a block or we missed the read and we’ve got to get that corrected.”

On whether Ohio St. loss lingered and/or impacted Maryland vs. Illinois

“I hope not because our standard is we play the next play, we play the next game and to me, that’s all we talked about this week. We know to be a tough ass game. I mean, they play Big Ten football at Illinois too but again I’m disappointed in the things we didn’t do. Not as much as what Illinois did, but the things we didn’t do. To turn it over there before the half when we have a chance to go up to 21-7. You know, we always fight to get what we call that to score swing between the haves. That’s one of the reasons why we tried to surprise on side there, to steal that possession back. Obviously didn’t get it executed. It was there, didn’t get it executed and we gave up a touchdown, which then allowed them to have the two score swing that we try to fight for in what we call the middle eight.”

On the defensive penalties that extended Illinois’ drives

“Those were competitive penalties. I mean, you know the facemask on the quarterback sack and then they call hands to the face on one of those third down deals. The way we saw it on tape, it looked like the hands were up here on the top of the shoulder pad. They obviously thought it was hands to the face. I have a hard time being disappointing other than we got to play smarter and cleaner but in these competitive type penalties like that, it just happened at some inopportune times when we couldn’t afford it to happen, especially coming off the turnover we had on offense. We needed to get out of that half without giving up a score.”

On calling a timeout after Illinois lined up for a FG, setting up an eventual Illinois TD

“That timeout was to remind our field goal block team that they have the ability to draw you offsides which then would give them a first down. So we had three timeouts, you use one to bring our guys over to gather them. Make sure they understood hey, just because they’re lined up for field goal doesn’t mean they can’t give a false cadence or hard snap count to draw us off which that would give them an automatic first down so it’s to get us clean on what to expect. A lot of people don’t practice those things. We do but it was a reminder to know that there’s a chance for the hard cadence, be onside, see the ball snap and also to try to freeze the kicker a little bit.”

On whether Locksley considered going for it on fourth before game-tying FG

“We were in our kick line. We knew we needed a touchdown to win, a field goal to tie. I would have loved to get 3rd-and-6 executed to keep the drive alive but once we didn’t get the positive yardage. I got faith in our kicker. He missed one earlier that just as uncharacteristic right now. He’s been a little inconsistent, but we did know that we needed at least a field goal to tie it. Figured our defense had been playing well the last three drives that worst case scenario is we hold them and maybe get one more crack to go down which is why we tried to do some of those timeouts. Unfortunately, they hit the big play down the sideline, gave them an opportunity to get themselves in field goal range. Goes back to like I said, it wasn’t much as what they did as much as what we did not do.”

On CB Corey Coley and Ja’Quan Sheppard

“I hate commenting on play before I have a chance to really evaluate it. Obviously saw a couple, we had some plays down the field earlier where I felt like we panicked with the ball in the air. I saw a few plays where we made the break up in the endzone so you can take the good with the bad. Obviously I don’t like seeing the ball being caught down the field in that situation because we want to hold them out of the field goal range and we didn’t make a play when the play was there for us to make.”

On whether weather played a factor

“The weather played no factor in today.”

On whether defensive injuries contributed to loss

“You know me long enough. You guys know long enough I don’t care about injuries. Injuries are gonna be part of the game. It’s the reason why when we come in here and you guys ask about all these guys are playing, that’s why we play a lot of players. We play a physical sport called football and injuries are part of the game and what we have to do and we’ve recruited and the guys that go in. As I said our standard doesn’t change between the first team player, second team player, third team player. We’ve had to create enough depth which I feel like we have, but now we’ve got to get these guys to execute and play like they’re capable of. Again, it goes back to us. We didn’t play our best. And that’s the frustrating part for me as a coach and it’s my job to get us to play our best. It’s my job to get us coaching our best and today didn’t happen.”

On timing of the bye week

“The schedule is the schedule. I’d like to have what every four weeks in a perfect world to give us a chance to stay healthy. I mean we’re still a developmental program. We played a lot of young guys out there today that hopefully this experience will be one that we can put in our toolbox. And as I said it’s about getting back and rhythm and getting back to the momentum and to the standard of what we’ve got to do which is every Saturday is to go out and play our best. And to me my goal is to get us playing our best. Today we did not play our best and it starts with me as the leader to make sure that I put us in the best possible position to do just that.”

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