Terps Travel Down the Road to Face Irish
Nov. 10, 2011
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Maryland plays its final three games away from the friendly confines of Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium, but the Terrapins will not have to travel far Saturday to face Notre Dame.
The Terps play the Irish at FedExField in Landover, Md., home of the NFL's Washington Redskins.
The close proximity allows Maryland to keep much of its preparation similar to a game in College Park.
"We're treating it like a home game," head coach Randy Edsall said Thursday on a conference call with reporters. "We'll do all of our prep here and be on our normal home game Friday schedule. Then Saturday, we'll do our normal schedule."
One of the keys for the Notre Dame game will be the ability to run the football and control the clock against the 38th-ranked offense (428 yards per game) in the nation.
The Terps rank fifth in the ACC (57th nationally) in rushing offense (162.1 yards per game) and have rushed for more than 150 yards six times this year, but were held to 84 in last week's loss to Virginia.
Edsall is hoping that Davin Meggett, who ranks ninth in school history in career rushing yards (2,192), and the running game can get back on track against Notre Dame which ranks 59th nationally in rushing defense (149.3 ypg).
"The thing we have to do is just make sure we sustain our blocks a little bit longer, maybe hit the hole a little bit quicker," Edsall said.
The Terps hope a healthy Justin Gilbert, who last week saw his first action in over a year due to a knee injury, can aid the Maryland offense.
"He had a good week of practice," Edsall said. "We're planning to go with like a 3-1 rotation. He'll go three series [in-a-row] and we'll get Josh [Cary] in there to make sure we're not giving Justin too much. We'll watch him as the game continues on. He hasn't had any problems this week."
Despite postseason play being out of the equation, Edsall hasn't seen a dropoff in the way the team is preparing each week.
"I can only go by what we do when we go on the practice field," Edsall said. "I see guys practicing hard. Are guys disappointed that we don't have more wins? Yes, we're all disappointed with that. Again, what we have to do is go out and go after what we can control. The thing we can control is going out and working hard preparing ourselves and going to beat Notre Dame. The young men are excited that we get another opportunity to go out and get a victory against a very fine football team and an outstanding football program.
The game will be broadcast nationally on NBC and can also be heard over the Terrapin Sports Radio Network (TSRN) which includes ESPN 980 in Washington, D.C. and 105.7 FM in Baltimore.
Maryland to Wear Pride Uniforms: The Terps announced Wednesday they will wear their Maryland Pride Uniforms for the second time this season. Maryland wore them during the season-opening win over Miami. "That was a decision we all made collectively," Edsall said. "We felt with another prime time game on NBC, and the game being here in the state of Maryland, we felt that it was appropriate to wear them again. It's something that I know our kids are excited about. They really like those uniforms and we felt it was another situation where we could wear them and put them on display to a national-TV audience."
Adjustments in the Secondary: Cornerback Trenton Hughes and safety A.J. Hendy are in line to receive their first starts of the season Saturday against Notre Dame. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Trenton Hughes," Edsall said. "Here was a guy that's a senior and just kept working, didn't complain, didn't pout, did things on special teams for us and just kept going out there. Now he's got his opportunity and made the most of it. I thought he has practiced well this week." While Hughes started all last season at cornerback, Hendy, a true freshman, has seen most of his time on special teams. "A.J. Hendy is a young man who I think has gotten better each week on the practice field," Edsall said. "He did things with us on special teams and we saw some things there and when he went into the game on Saturday, he did some more things."
Scout Team Players of the Week: Each Thursday during the season Edsall announces the scout team players of the week. This week's honorees are quarterback Troy Jones (offense), defensive lineman Clarence Murphy (defense) and defensive back Undray Clark (special teams).
Inside Maryland Football: The ninth edition of Inside Maryland Football will air at 11 a.m. Saturday on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. The 30-minute coaches show goes behind the-scenes with the team. The first eight shows are available on Terps TV Premium. The show airs each Saturday during the regular season until Dec. 3 (there was no show on Sept. 17 due to a bye the previous Saturday).