Maryland Terrapins face big test at Michigan
COLLEGE PARK Playing at “The Big House” at Michigan is nothing new for interim Maryland head coach Matt Canada.
Canada was a member of the coaching staff at the University of Indiana from 2004-10 and that meant several trips to Michigan Stadium Ann Arbor in Big Ten Conference play.
Maryland (3-1, 1-0) will play its second conference game on Saturday at noon at Michigan, which crushed the Terps 59-3 in Ann Arbor in 2016. The Wolverines are allowing just 232.6 yards per game this season, which is the best mark in the nation.
“It is a tremendous place to play and certainly a challenging place to play, with a great tradition,” Canada told The Washington Times on Tuesday. “We are excited about playing this week. We are playing a tremendous team in Michigan, with the number one ranked defense in the country.”
Michigan Stadium is called “The Big House” as it has a capacity of 107,601 and is the largest stadium in the country.
Canada, 46, was born in New Palestine, Indiana, about 250 miles southwest of Ann Arbor, and is quite familiar with the Wolverines.
“Everybody knows it is a national program,” Canada said. “This is a great opportunity. We are not going to play scared. I think again, they have a tremendous staff. A lot of those (coaches) I’ve known from a far, some I’ve known a little bit better through different places in our careers.”
Michigan (4-1, 2-0 in the Big Ten) is coached by Jim Harbaugh, the brother of Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh.
“Coach (Jim) Harbaugh speaks for himself all the places he’s been, the great player he was,” Canada said. “Again on defense, what they do on defense is as good as anybody in the country, so it’s a tremendous challenge that way.”
The Wolverines are ranked No. 15 in the country in this week’s Associated Press poll. Michigan won 20-17 at Northwestern on Saturday after trailing by 17 points.
“Coming out we knew they really couldn’t hang with us,” Michigan junior linebacker Josh Uche told The Detroit News. “Early on we had a lot of self-inflicted (wounds). We all feed off each other.”
Wolverines defensive coordinator Don Brown previously served as a member of the Maryland coaching staff from 2009-10.
″(Brown is) one of the best defensive coordinators I have ever gone against,” Canada said. “One of the best coaches around.”
The Michigan defense is led by defensive lineman Chase Winovich, who is in third in the nation with 10.5 tackles for a loss. Wolverine linebacker Jordan Anthony is from Silver Spring and played at the IMG Academy in Florida.
Another defensive key for the Wolverines is junior Devin Bush, who Canada calls “a traditional Michigan linebacker.”
The Terps will be without DeMatha Catholic product Lorenzo Harrison III, a running back who will miss the rest of the season with an injury. He played in two games and had 84 yards on 10 carries.
“He’s a great young man, had come back and was probably feeling as good as he had felt that day in practice,” Canada said. “He’d gotten back but we didn’t have to play him against Minnesota and he was feeling great. Made a great run and it was a non-contact situation. That’s part of the deal with athletics. Sometimes it’s just an interesting, hard situation. Everything went well. It’s documented, he had surgery, he’s out for the year.”
Ty Johnson is the leading rusher for 300 yards on 40 carries while Anthony McFarland has gained 294 yards on 27 attempts. Maryland beat Minnesota at home 42-13 on Sept. 22 as Johnson and McFarland both gained more than 100 yards on the ground.
Terps quarterback Kasim Hill completed 10 of 14 passes in the win over the Gophers.
The Maryland program continues to be dogged by off-field distractions after the June death of lineman Jordan McNair.
Coach DJ Durkin, a former assistant at Michigan under Jim Harbaugh, remains on administrative leave. The Washington Post reported earlier this week, after talking to some parents and former players, of a “toxic” culture around the program under Durkin.
But a story posted earlier this week by the Diamondback, the Maryland school paper, shows Durkin has a strong group of supporters among key boosters.
“It’s so ridiculous that (Durkin is on leave),” booster Rick Jaklitsch told The Diamondback.