Terrapins men’s lacrosse coach John Tillman sat at a table during the postgame press conference this past Saturday and tried to stay present. But the last question left the coach thinking about the future.

“If we played Yale today, we probably wouldn’t have been successful,” Tillman said of his team’s looming opponent after the Terps’ 15-10 come-from-behind victory against High Point.

“But we’ve got a week to get things better.”

The Terps say their first-game jitters have disappeared, their offseason rust dusted off. The team has spent the week focused on eliminating the errors the Panthers capitalized on in the season opener.

From the first faceoff Saturday afternoon at No. 7 Yale, Tillman expects to see the inspired style of lacrosse he felt his No. 4 Terps lacked against High Point.

“When you play at Maryland, everybody’s gunning for you,” Tillman said. “It should make you better.”

The sixth-year coach has emphasized areas in which he wants his players to improve in practice this week.

Toughness is one aspect.

The Terps lost the ground-ball battle 29-27 to the Panthers. Those stats mirrored the Terps’ loss last year in New Haven, Connecticut, when Yale fielded 18 ground balls to the Terps’ 16. Eventual Ivy League Rookie of the Year Ben Reeves scored twice for the Bulldogs, forcing a 10-6 Terps defeat.

The Terps would rather replicate the possessions they earned off the ground in their 8-7 victory against Yale in the first round of the NCAA tournament a few months later. They held Reeves to one score, and the Terps finished with a 30-17 advantage in ground balls.

This past Saturday, Tillman felt his defenders weren’t always successful in sliding and recovering against High Point’s multifaceted attack. The unit knows its cohesion will be important in limiting Reeves, who tallied four goals and three assists in Yale’s 17-7 season-opening victory against UMass Lowell last weekend.

“Giving up 10 goals is a lot for us,” Tillman said. “We never want to give up 10 goals.”

Better communication — how the Terps say they’ll cut back on those defensive lapses — has been another area of concentration.

There’s a difference, goalkeeper Kyle Bernlohr said, between talking and communicating.

It comes from body language. Clear, loud inflection in their voices. Pointing to direct one another when organizing field position and plays.

“It’s different from telling one guy “Hey, you’ve got to go there,'” Bernlohr said. “You’ve got to use his name.”

And then there’s the sense of urgency.

While the Terps’ intensity dipped at times against High Point, attackman Matt Rambo remembers last year’s postseason triumph against the Bulldogs, when the Terps scored four unanswered goals in the fourth quarter.

Rambo netted the third — the tying score — during that stretch. While he was swarmed by teammates in celebration, he turned his attention toward the future.

“Now I have to go win the next play,” Rambo recalled thinking.

A smile spread across Rambo’s face as he stood in the lobby of the Varsity Team House and reminisced about the win over the Bulldogs that jump-started the Terps’ run to the national championship.

But then the junior’s gaze dropped back to the floor. He couldn’t live in the past or look ahead of this Saturday. The only thing that’s important, he said, is the upcoming matchup with Yale.

“Everyone has a purpose to play,” Rambo said. “I like to play for the guys that came before me that built this program up, and I like playing for my brothers to the right and left of me. We’re blood, sweat and tears from August to now.”