UMD football coach says team has been ‘laser focused’ despite season uncertainty

A little over a month ago, the University of Maryland football team was looking far downfield for their upcoming season.

But as of Wednesday, the Terrapins are looking at short yardage after the Big Ten pulled off a reversal and opted to begin the season in October.

READ MORE: Big Ten football schedules 2020 season to start Oct. 24, reversing COVID-19 delay

Five weeks ago, the conference had pushed all fall sports back to spring because of the COVID-19 threat. On Wednesday, they moved the start date to Oct. 24.

READ MORE: UMD COVID-19 positivity rate jumps as in-person classes are set to start

UMD coach Mike Locksley said the team is ready to go – despite the uncertainty.

“I’m so happy for our players. They’ve been through a lot and stayed laser focused and committed on doing things the right way to earn the chance to compete on Saturday’s this fall,” he said via Twitter.

Governor Larry Hogan also threw his support behind the conference's decision.

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The Big Ten said its Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously Tuesday to restart sports. The vote last month was 11-3 to postpone, with Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska voting against.

The decision to play came after sharp pressure from coaches, players, parents and even President Donald Trump, all of them pushing for a Big Ten football season. The conference is home to a number of battleground states in the November election, and Trump swiftly applauded the move in a tweet.

The Terrapins will return to the field despite a spike in positivity rates among students right before the start of in-person classes.

Within a week, the positivity rate nearly tripled – going from 1 percent to 2.7 percent.