Locksley Updates Status of QB Taulia Tagovailoa Heading into Bye Week

Maryland was without its starting quarterback in last weekend’s win over Northwestern but with the bye week upon the team, head coach Mike Locksley expects Taulia Tagovailoa available when the Terps return to action on November 5 against Wisconsin.

“The expectation is he should be available to play in the Wisconsin game,” Locksley said during his midweek press conference. “It’s a game time decision still. We expect him to participate in practices as much as he can do. I mean, it’s a day-to-day deal because it’s about how his body feels, it’s about strengthening. He’s done a ton of rehab work last week. He’ll get a ton of it this week as well as next week. And so for us, it’s mostly trying to get him back into conditioning, limiting how much we do with him early in the week to see how his body continues to respond. But the expectation is that Lia should be back and as close to 100% like he was prior to the Indiana game.”

It’s a big boost for an offense that thrives on big plays as Maryland sits in the top three in points, total yards and passing yards across the Big Ten. Taulia, meanwhile, sits second in the conference with a 72.5% completion and is one of four players to already eclipse 2,000 passing yards this season.

Another twist during Saturday’s game was a slight tweak to the starting offensive line as freshman Coltin Deery made his first career start at center, pushing Spencer Anderson to left guard and Johari Branch to right guard. Veteran starter Mason Lunsford would enter the game midway through the second quarter but Locksley pointed to taking “pressure off a young quarterback.”

“Obviously with Lia going down, take pressure off a young quarterback, running the ball is something you want to be able to do to create balance in how people defend you. You have to show that you can do the things that you hadn’t done maybe well before and so those guys and the experience they’ve gained over the last few years have being in the system, you’re starting to see it come to fruition in that when we needed to, we were tied and we needed to take the lead, we run a basic dual play which is a downhill run where we double team people and it goes for 75, one play drive. Shows the confidence we have and our guys up front. I think they’re getting more and more confident, and it helps our team create the balance as well as show the necessary toughness to play in the Big Ten because you still win in the Big Ten in the trenches and I think we’ve finally got to the point where our guys have developed the experience and then the mental and physical toughness to give us a chance to have success.”

Still, Locksley sees ample room to grow despite being 6-2 heading into the home stretch of the regular season. “That’s kind of the encouraging thing for us, is that to be 6-2 at the kind of the midway point for us now, we’ve been going 12 straight weeks, you know, four weeks of camp, eight straight games and this bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for us and an opportunity to get healthy and get some guys back, which we feel we’ll be able to do.” That includes linebackers Ruben Hyppolite, Jaishawn Barham and VanDarius Cowan as all three missed Saturday’s game.

While Maryland’s medical team will hope for good news to inch the team closer to 100% heading into next weekend, Maryland will also capitalize on the bye week with the staff on the trail. Maryland had another extensive group of visitors on campus on Saturday and while his staff has been active on the trail visiting schools and attending the games of the 2023 and 2024 targets, this week will give head coach Mike Locksley a chance to hit the road.

“The recruiting piece, we’ve seen it continue to get better with each week,” Locksley added “I’m well aware that in this area, when we generate the momentum that shows the trajectory of where our program is headed, that’s really what a lot of the guys in this area want to see. They want to see is Maryland football real? “As we’ve painted the vision of where we want to go, I think they’re seeing us on track with the vision that we’ve been able to go out and show recruits this opportunity does give us a chance. It’ll be my first time going on the road this season. I’ll get a chance to go out and hit a couple places on Friday and get back here and get back to work. So, winning, bowl eligibility definitely are huge factors in recruiting, but we know it’s not the end all, be all for us, but it’s definitely, it’s got us in the minds of some of the top guys in this area, at least.”

Related Links

QB Khristian Martin sees fit, Maryland’s offense during visit (+)

Appealing bowl projections for Maryland with postseason secured

Four-star forward Derik Queen sees fit during official visit (+)

Photos: DMV Crew on Campus for Maryland’s 31-24 Win over Northwestern

Profile: Forward Patrick Emilien

RB Roman Hemby named B1G Freshman of the Week

Four-star OT raves about Locksley, program’s progression after fifth visit (+)

Maryland emerges as contender for committed prospect (+)