If given a second chance, there were a few things Maryland interim coach Matt Canada might have done differently in Saturday’s 34-29 victory over then-No. 23 Texas at FedEx Field.
One was to either wear the wide-brimmed hat that had become a regular fixture for the 46-year-old coach during the team’s preseason practices or apply a lot more sunscreen to his shaved head.
Perhaps even more important was to call timeout on a play that ended up with redshirt freshman quarterback Kasim Hill getting stopped for a 1-yard loss on second-and-goal from the Texas 1 early in the fourth quarter.
Instead of stretching a 31-29 lead into a two-possession game, the Terps settled for an 18-yard field goal by freshman Joseph Petrino.
“I mentioned after the game the sneak [by Hill], we had a personnel issue and I wish I would have called timeout. I should have called timeout,” Canada said at a Tuesday news conference. “Upstairs, down, that was all on me. I take full blame for that. I’m really glad we still won the football game. I think [I’m] very critical of myself and I wish I had done a better job with that.”
Canada had said after the game that it was the first time in his coaching career calling his team’s offense from the field instead of the coaches’ box. He credited his fellow assistants on both sides of the ball with helping him get through his head coaching debut unscathed.
“I think it was good,” Canada said. “The guys upstairs did a good job giving the information I needed. that’s just a comfort level for me. I just had never done it before. A lot of guys like it down there better. I’ve always liked it upstairs.
“It was just a comfort deal. Just being honest, that was my biggest concern. My job was different. But we handled it fine. There will always be plays that are bad plays if they don’t work. If it doesn’t work, I shouldn’t have called [it].”
Given that Saturday’s game at Bowling Green begins at 6 p.m., at least he won’t have to worry about wearing a hat or how much sunscreen to apply.
Among some other topics Canada talked about at Tuesday’s news conference:
Playing both Hill and junior Tyrrell Pigrome in the same game as he did Saturday: “I definitely do anticipate it. I thought both of them played well. Both of them did what we asked them to do. Both of them could have played better. Both of them had a throw here or there that we could have done better. We could have protected better at times. I could have called better plays. We all could be better. The change from Week 1 to Week 2 in our game is always a pretty big jump. But I think both of them added things to our football team, to our offense. We’re going to play the best players and they’re both going to play.”
On whether there’s some normalcy now that the Terps have played a game since the death of Jordan McNair this summer: “I think all we’re doing and I mentioned it, we’re taking it a day at a time. … We’re focused on Bowling Green and Tuesday’s a great work day for us. We’re on our schedule doing our job. And that’s where we’re at. Every day is what we’re focused on and I think our kids are doing a great job of focusing on that.”