COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland is officially out of bowl contention after its loss Saturday to Wisconsin, part of a larger 2015 campaign that has seen a midseason coaching change and disappointment on multiple levels.
But interim head coach Mike Locksley has preached since he took over the reins of the program that he would integrate more players, inserting younger guys into spots for small packages or small portions of the game.
The hope would be that more involvement creates more energy, awareness, and focus and that will translate to Saturdays. He has done it and it has created value.
“The big thing is the young guys that we’re playing, we’re playing them in roles to where they play 10, 15 snaps a game and if you get 70 snaps,” Locksley explained. “I think 55 snaps out of the 70, you’re able to maintain continuity.
“I do believe your program has to develop the players that are within it and as I told our coaches, playing a young guy for 15 plays, 10 plays a game is not going to make a big difference in the outcome of it.”
Affect the outcome negatively, he went on to clarify.
“I think it could help the outcome because -- one -- it allows the starters to maintain some endurance in the fourth quarter, but also it keeps everybody locked in to where they come out to practice, they have a purpose, when they go to meetings they have a purpose and I think that energy is what helps fuel your team.”
One player who has benefitted immensely from Locksley’s extension of trust has been wide receiver DeAndre Lane. The junior from Catonsville, Md., has caught five passes in the past four games after not making a reception through the season’s first five games.
Saturday against Wisconsin was a career day for him, as he caught three passes for 63 yards, including a 41-yard diving catch down the middle of the field early in the game.
“If you’re not playing a lot, you’re obviously going to be like, ‘All right, well, I’m kind of just here.’ You’re going to feel kind of left out,” Lane said on Tuesday.
“Since I’ve gotten the opportunity, I’ve known I got to show them that I can make the plays, I can be on the field, I can help produce. Once I got my first opportunity, from here on out I just got to keep making plays, no matter what.”
Maryland faces Michigan State on Saturday in East Lansing.