As Nolan Carroll lay on the Byrd Stadium field on Saturday night, Maryland defensive tackle Travis Ivey slammed his helmet to the sod in frustration.
Technically, it could have been a penalty. Realistically, it was a spontaneous reaction that reflected just how much the fifth-year senior cornerback meant to the Terrapins.
“Coaches were kind of upset with him, but Travis saw Nolan hurt,” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “He was reacting to Nolan being hurt, not to anything in the play itself. I think there’s a tremendous amount of feeling for Nolan on the team. Obviously, not only was he very well liked, but also well-respected. I’m not so sure that wasn’t a rallying point for us to come back.”
Regardless of the short-term burst the Terps might have received, it won’t cover up the long-term loss Carroll’s absence will bring. Carroll was taken to an area hospital with a broken tibia, and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Cameron Chism is listed on this week’s depth chart as the second starting cornerback, opposite Anthony Wiseman.
“It’s a tough loss,” Wiseman said. “In the secondary, he’s a very valuable guy as far as cornerback is concerned. In the whole defense, he was one of the key factors in our defense. Having him go down is a very tough loss.”
It’s hard, too, on Friedgen, who called Carroll on Sunday morning. At that time, Friedgen reminded Carroll he was still an important part of this year’s team and that he still needs to contribute with leadership when he leaves the hopsital.
Still, Carroll’s college career is almost certainly over. Carroll’s chances of receiving an exception for a sixth season are unlikely, mainly because this is the only season he would miss because of injury.
“I just feel bad to tell him he won’t be eligible for another year,” Friedgen said. “It just seems where he loses his senior year in high school and now his senior year in college, he only plays a game and a half and can’t get that year back.”
—- Patrick Stevens