Navy’s season will end after Saturday’s road game against No. 7 Maryland. But that doesn’t make the Midshipmen (4-9) an opponent the Terps don’t have to worry about, according to Maryland coach John Tillman.
Asked whether he is leery about a Navy squad that could play with nothing to lose, said Tillman, a former assistant coach for the Midshipmen: “I think that’s a big concern. Having spent some time over there and I’ve been in this situation before, there are a lot of young men that are going to do some very honorable thing, some very selfless things in terms of defending our country due to their service. This is a game that for a lot of those guys will be the last game they play for a while. That’s not lost on me. ... All you need to do is turn on that Loyola game or that Hopkins game and you can see the potential of this team. So we’ve got to be ready for that. I think this team has been playing better and better as the season has gone on. So we have to understand the animal that we’re playing against. They’re hard-nosed, tough kids They’re well-coached, they’re disciplined, and they’re going to fight to the end.”
Midshipmen coach Rick Sowell said he expects the Terps (10-3) to be prepared for his team’s arrival, which might include a trick or two.
“Each game, there are times when we think if the situation calls for it, we’ll break out something that maybe the opponent is not prepared for,” Sowell said. “But for the most part, we are who we are, and there are a few tweaks and adjustments that we’ll try to make, but I’m sure that’s the same for Maryland as well. We’re 13 games into our season, so there’s not too much they haven’t seen and that we haven’t seen. So it really comes down to being able to execute what you do, and whoever does that the best will most likely win the game.”
With just one more game before heading into the offseason that may have more questions than answers, Sowell acknowledged that ending the year with an upset would set the tone for the 2015 campaign.
“It would certainly be a nice way to end the season,” he said. “It’s certainly easier said than done. Maryland is a very good team, a well-coached team, and it’s going to take the best game we’ve played this year to compete. But obviously, a win would be great for our seniors as they move onto bigger and better things. It would be a nice to way to go into your offseason, that’s for sure.”