Locksley reflects on where the Terps are ahead of Ohio State

While Maryland has ample work to do before Saturday’s contest against another ranked opponent, Mike Locksley opened his conference to honor the victims of the University of Virginia shooting that left three football players dead, and two other victims seriously injured.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t open up by offering extended condolences to, our UVA football family and their program. Our thoughts and prayers are with coach [Tony] Elliott, who I know personally and have come to know him over the years. Our thoughts and prayers are with him his staff their football program, and then the UVA community, and especially to the families that lost children.”

He added that this tragedy puts things into perspective for him, having lost a son to gun violence.

Mike Locksley previews No. 2 Ohio State (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten)

The Buckeyes are the second-best team in the country for a reason. They have top talent at all three levels and a surging quarterback who has Heisman winner potential.

C.J. Stroud has thrown for 2,750 yards, 34 touchdowns, and four interceptions. He has the nation’s best quarterback rating (QBR) of 90.9. He’s in a long line of talented quarterbacks to excel at Ohio State and keep them in the national spotlight as title contenders year in and year out.

“I think the biggest thing when you watch Ohio State because of the way they’re spread out, The talent they have on offense, it starts with trying to affect the quarterback. The games that they’ve lost over the years here that I’ve had a chance to evaluate is they’ve been able to get the quarterback on the ground and effectively create problems for him because he’s the guy that makes that thing go, and he’s a special player.”

Locksley mentioned that Stroud is an elusive guy in the pocket and credited the Buckeyes’ offensive line for keeping him upright.

“He’s a special player man. The biggest thing that jumps off to me is I think they have him listed as maybe having four sacks. But he really only has been sacked one time this year. He’s a slippery guy inside the pocket. He has a really unique ability to manipulate and work inside of the tight areas of the pocket,” Locksley said. “Very few times, you get clean shots on him. When he pulls the ball down in the passing game, he is a threat as a runner, probably one of the best deep ball throwers I’ve seen in the college game in a long time, and his accuracy on deep balls is [excellent]. What most great quarterbacks do is they make the players around them better, and he’s one of those guys.”

Mike Locksley isn’t hitting the panic button

Having lost two straight games to Wisconsin and No. 14 Penn State, he said that nobody in the building has been happy with the way the team has played lately.

“I grew up in this profession under some really good coaches that taught me when things don’t go well. It’s on you as the leader,” Locksley said. “And so the way we’ve played the last two weeks is on me as a leader to get our team, our players, our program to play up to our standard. And that’s what I intend to do.”

Locksley opened the floor to his team during their meeting and asked one question. Where are we?

Players stood up and took accountability. The phrase that Locksley has engrained into his players, “We don’t lose, we learn,” showed itself at a time when it would be easy for players and even coaches to deflect blame for the state of the program the last two weeks.

“That’s where finger pointing starts, blaming starts happening, and I see none of that in this program. I can tell you being here, this is year four, We’ve had that happen where the fingers get pointed as to play calling. This guy’s playing, why am I not playing? That’s not what has happened the last two weeks, and I’ve seen the leadership of this team when I continue to talk about us taking the next step.”

Some good news on the offensive line front when Locksley told reporters that they were getting Mason Lunsford back from a concussion. The offensive line has been a roller coaster for the Terps, and it has shown up in their ability to run the ball and protect Taulia Tagovailoa.

On his November record and what to do about it

Mike Locksley’s November record isn’t great (2-10) and he knows that building a team to win in November is key to the future success of the program in all areas.

“What does that entail? In this league it entails being able to win up front, making sure that we have the ability to run the ball, and stop the run when we don’t have the advantages of great weather, wetness, rain, wind, those things. So we’ve gotta build a team that allows us to win. That’s what we are doing.”

Losing to Wisconsin was tough, losing to Penn State in a shutout was hard to watch. The Terps are still bowl eligible with nothing to lose as Ohio State comes to town on Saturday.

“With nothing to lose. As I told our team, there’s nothing more, more dangerous than a desperate man that has nothing to lose. That’s where we are. They’ve got everything to lose. They’ve got a big game after ours, I think. I don’t know who they play, but they play somebody after our game, it’s a pretty big game. And so for us, it’s gonna be about us going out, doing the things that we practice with the right kind of effort and with the right mentality.”

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