COLLEGE PARK -- It’s a plain and simple fact that interim head coach Mike Locksley has been faced with since he took over the job at Maryland.
The Terrapins are tied for the nation's lead in one of the categories that teams would least like to lead the nation -- turnovers per game with 3.9 per game. It has been the team’s undoing in a one-point loss to Penn State and a 31-15 loss to Iowa that at a certain point was closer than the final score looked.
But if nothing else, it’s repetitive.
“You’ve got to be very patient. Obviously it’s deflating,” Locksley said during a press conference with the media on Tuesday.
“It’s like raising kids and they keep making the same dumb mistakes over and over. As a parent, you just love them through it, you hold them accountable for it.”
Maryland turned the ball over five times against Penn State and another four times against Iowa. It’s a problem that reaches far back, with quarterback Caleb Rowe still tied for the second-most interceptions in the country and he has not played since Oct. 3.
The offense is undoubtedly more open and free under Locksley with Perry Hills as a dual-threat quarterback, but the turnover problem has not been solved. At times, it seems even to have been exacerbated.
“Turnovers are huge. They kill our drives,” freshman tight end Avery Edwards said.
“For us, the little things are killing us. Just keeping the ball high and tight, something so simple like that that could kill a drive or finishing a block. It’s just little details that we’ve been working on.”
The fix is not as apparent. Personnel has been shuffled all season and it is clear that Hills is Maryland’s best option. Brandon Ross and Wes Brown have been splitting carries at running back. The wide receiver position has been a carousel.
So maybe it all just comes back to tightening the screws and seeing what happens.
“It’s mind-boggling some of the egregious errors that we’ve had in terms of interceptions and fumbles and penalties and they’ve been untimely,” Locksley said. “Those are what bad teams do and we’ve got a good team. We just don’t play real smart at times.”