Maryland lacrosse coach John Tillman sat down Saturday after two wind-swept hours at Byrd Stadium.
He had just completed his first game with the Terrapins and the second-largest rout of his four-year head coaching career.
And yet ...
"It's weird to kind of be disappointed at 16-4," Tillman said of the Terps' demolition of Detroit.
No, it's not weird. It's called being a coach.
But he's also right. As cozy as the final margin looks, as impressive as the 20-for-20 clearing day would seem, as dominant as the 49-23 groundball margin suggests, there was still the first quarter.
Maryland spent four of the first 10 minutes a man down. It had a goal wiped out by an illegal stick penalty. It trailed 2-1 after a quarter.
All this against a Titans outfit still finding its way in their third years as a program.
So was it perfect? Not remotely. But Tillman tried to offer a calming voice after 15 minutes, pointing out the Terps hadn't played well and still trailed by just a goal.
Until, that is, Ryan Young produced a natural hat trick. Then Travis Reed scored twice. The Terps rattled off nine goals in 16 minutes, and all was normal again in the world.
Still, Tillman couldn't shake the thought of how Maryland might fare if it commits 17 turnovers next weekend against Georgetown. Or gives up a couple extra-man goals down the road to Duke.
Or ... well, you get the idea.
"I think it shows how much he thinks we can do this year," Reed said. "I think he has a lot of respect for us."
And the Terps respect themselves. There is an unspoken sense of just what this season means for Maryland, which fell short of Memorial Day weekend for the last four years. Last year's senior class was the first to leave College Park without a final four trip since 2002. Those are the only two groups to leave Maryland without that experience since the establishment of the NCAA tournament in 1971.
So the Terps aren't about to shrug at the need for a little more precision, even in a season opener against a team that was undermanned (though schematically intriguing).
"The highest standard there is," midfielder John Haus said. "We want to be playing in that last game of the year. There's no question about that."
Tillman was the man hired to get Maryland there after producing a 20-19 record in three years at Harvard. But he knows a bit about high standards after a dozen seasons as a Navy assistant.
So what was there to be gleaned from a predictable rout? Only the most predictable coaching assessment: There's a lot more to be done for Maryland to get to where it wants to be.
"It's hard to get coaches really happy," Reed said, prompting a few laughs. "Even after a win, you can find improve on every game. I think this was a good start."