Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich
When Maryland defensive tackle Travis Ivey came off the field on Saturday against James Madison, defensive end Jared Harrell noticed his teammate “had that look on his face.” Ivey wasn’t cramping up, but he threw his helmet on the ground, and Harrell realized Ivey was just reacting to teammate Nolan Carroll’s injury.
Carroll, a fifth-year senior who was arguably the Terps’ top cornerback, was operated on Saturday night for a broken tibia and will likely miss the rest of the season.
“I think there is a tremendous amount of feeling for Nolan on the team and obviously, not only is Nolan very well liked, but he is very well respected,” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “I think it was a rallying point to come back when they knew Nolan was done. I talked to Nolan on Sunday about when he gets out of the hospital that he is still captain of this football team and he needs to continue his leadership role. And he said he would definitely do it."
Carroll was fourth on the team with 10 tackles, and one pass breakup. He’s unlikely to be granted a sixth year of eligibility because this would be the only season he would have missed with an injury.
“We’re going to miss Nolan a lot, especially I am, and the other seniors,” Harrell said. “We’ve been here the whole time together. No doubt he’s still going to be our team captain. We’re going to try to make sure he’s on the sidelines with us as much as possible. We’re going to find a way to make sure he’s with us this entire season. We’ll be there for him, and he’ll be there for us. The truth of the matter is, the next guy has to step up and that’s what he would want. He’d want to make sure the defense plays as strong as possible.”
Sophomore Cameron Chism, who played in nine games last year as a backup, is listed on this week's depth chart as Carroll's replacement. It was a huge blow to a young defense that ranks last in the ACC in scoring defense, having allowed an average of 43.5 points over two games. The Terps also rank last in total defense, last in rushing defense, and last in pass defense efficiency. They’re still trying to adjust to first-year coordinator Don Brown’s new scheme, but now they’ll have to do it without one of their top players.
“I know the score and stat sheet doesn’t really reflect, but the defense made great improvements from Cal to JMU, we had more three-and-outs,” Harrell said. “If we eliminate a few big plays here and there, we’re actually playing pretty strong games. When you eliminate those big plays, that turns a lot of stuff around. We feel very confident looking at the tape that we can correct our mistakes. There are a few mental mistakes, a few assignment mistakes, and we feel like if we can correct those, we’re going to be tough to deal with.”