Maryland’s football team practiced on Monday afternoon, which wouldn’t otherwise be news in November.
But this is college football in 2020.
After two weeks of dormancy due to a surge of COVID-19 cases in their program, the Terrapins are back on the field. And that puts them on course to make the trip to Bloomington for Saturday’s game against No. 12 Indiana.
“Business as usual,” IU coach Tom Allen said.
For now, anyway.
Maryland, which hasn’t played since Nov. 7, didn’t cancel last week’s scheduled game against Michigan State until Thursday, when it cited a spike in positive COVID-19 test results. Between Nov. 8 and Nov. 18, the Terps’ program saw 23 players and seven staffers, including coach Mike Locksley, test positive. So, fingers crossed that things continue to trend in the right direction and everyone — on both teams — is healthy.
“We will adjust, if necessary,” Allen said. “But, everything we have been given to this point is we are expecting to play.”
To date, Indiana has been one of college football’s lucky teams, in that it has neither dealt with widespread issues inside its program, nor has it encountered an opponent unable to field a team. Given Maryland’s situation, it does prompt an interesting question for the Hoosiers: would they benefit more from playing a game, or from having a week to rest ahead of the Dec. 5 game at Wisconsin?
Tom Allen, at least publicly, leans toward the former.
“The game experience is what you want,” Allen said. “To get the negative out of your system from falling short on Saturday, you want to get back on that football field as soon as you can and get back to doing the things we know we do really well. That would be all the reasons you want to play and keep in that rhythm and do all those things. Then, obviously, if there was a benefit (to getting a bye this week), you talk about being able to have some time for your body to heal up and having that. But we’re really not focusing on that at all. We’re expecting us to play. I really don’t see any reason why we won’t. That’s our mindset. That’s our expectation, and that’s the way we’re going to plan our week.”