ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Maryland looked like it belonged against Michigan in Week 4, and the Terps head coach, Mike Locksley, sounded like his team belonged, as well.
Instead of fawning all over the Wolverines, who won 34-27 on Saturday, Locksley noted that while Michigan won the game, it was more about what the Terrapins didn’t do.
“Obviously gotta give credit to Michigan, a top-five program,” Locksley said. “Obviously, like I told our team, we don’t believe in moral victories, close is not good enough. But I’m proud of the way our team fought. I liked the effort that we played with. We faced adversity throughout the game, including spotting them a touchdown. Right at the beginning, which, as I’ve said here, good teams don’t need help. And we sure gave them a cheap, easy one right off the bat.”
When Michigan needed a big defensive stop after the first few drives of the game, besides the final touchdown for Maryland, it produced it. For Locksley, it was a lack of execution on the Terps’ end, and players not finishing, along with the coaches not putting Maryland’s players in a good positioin.
“The disappointing thing is that we talked about what it would take to win up here, which is to give ourselves a chance to get in this game and into the fourth quarter,” Locksley said. “We had opportunities to kind of put ourselves ahead, which puts pressure on a good team like Michigan. And from coaching to our best players, we’ve got to make the right call. Our players got to make the plays that are there to be made. If we can learn how to do that against good teams like this, I think we take a step forward in terms of getting it to where we said we needed to get the game — into a fourth-quarter opportunity for us — so we did that.
“But we didn’t make the plays when the plays were there to be made. And that starts with coaching, starts with our best players, making the plays when they’re there to be made.”
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But what did Locksley have to say about why his offense wasn’t able to execute?
He did credit Michigan, to some degree, but still pointed the finger back at the Terps for not being able to get the job done.
“Michigan’s defense, our players not executing,” Locksley said. “I mean, most of the time when we don’t have success on offense, it’s not necessarily because of something that the other team is doing, it’s usually our execution. And we’ve got to execute at a higher level. You’ve got to make the plays were there to be made.”
Overall, Locksley wasn’t fawning over the Wolverines. He felt his team had a chance to win, and it looked like it for a good two-thirds of the game. Given that Michigan has had sustained success under head coach Jim Harbaugh, Locksley says he understands how difficult a task it would be to come in and upset the maize and blue.
But, again, he noted that it was his team’s lack of execution that held it back on Saturday.
“It’s more about us than Michigan. And it’s gonna always be that way, in my mind, because if you watch the way this game played out, there’s nobody in our locker room that came in making this into a Super Bowl,” Locksley said. “Michigan’s a top-five team. So I give them tremendous credit and the way they built their program and established it, but we knew that we would have a chance to be in this game. And that we would have to make some plays to take it because they won’t give it to you. And we didn’t take it today.”