Immediately after Saturday’s 63-0 loss at Florida State, the Terrapins football team began its trek back to College Park as losers for the first time this season.
“It sucked,” left guard De’Onte Arnett said. “It wasn’t a fun bus ride. It wasn’t a fun plane ride. At that point, you’re just ready to clean things up and get back on track. After having a really good 4-0 start, you want to get back on that momentum train and pick things back up to where you were.”
So the Terps returned to the weight room Sunday morning with a renewed sense of focus. With a matchup against Virginia looming this weekend, the Terps weren’t going to let their loss to the Seminoles define their season.
“Everyone knew they had to work,” center Sal Conaboy said. “It was actually a really good session. I don’t know if everyone was getting their anger out or what, but it was a very good session.”
Despite the plethora of problems the Terps had with Florida State, coach Randy Edsall is keeping the team’s routine the same. During the team’s hot start to the season, he was sure not to let success dictate his decision-making, and he’s not letting the Terps’ failure change things, either.
“It’s no different when you win,” Edsall said. “When you win, you go through the film. You show them what they did right, you show them what you did wrong and you put it behind you. It’s the same thing if you lose. Every week’s got to be the same.”
Still, certain Terps took the loss hard and worked Sunday to help move the team past their shortcomings from the day before. Defensive end Zeke Riser specifically mentioned wide receiver Stefon Diggs, quarterback C.J. Brown, inside linebacker Cole Farrand and defensive end Keith Bowers as a few players making their presence known.
The response was immediate on the practice field. Riser said the team was more focused and there were no lingering effects of Saturday’s rout.
“We went out on the field on Sunday, and that Florida State game was behind us when we went out to practice,” Edsall said. “It’s over with, done. We moved forward to Virginia on Saturday afternoon.”
The Terps hadn’t suffered a loss that bad in 20 years, and it was the eighth time in Edsall’s tenure the Terps lost a game by 20 or more points. But yesterday, Saturday’s shock seemed to have worn off.
At 4-1, the Terps are still off to one of their best starts in recent years. Bowl eligibility is still a possibility, and the team has reached a level of prominence not seen in recent years.
The weekend’s loss against a superior team was just one part of the season. The Terps are only one game into their ACC schedule with seven more to go. And in the long run, there could be some positives drawn out of the reaction to Saturday’s loss.
“I’ve been on really good teams and really bad teams, and whenever guys take losses hard, that’s a really good sign,” Riser said. “If no one cares about losing, then you have a problem. That game meant a lot to a lot of guys on our team.”