The Washington Times - October 7, 2009, 10:28PM

The loss of Da’Rel Scott to a broken radius bone in his left forearm has opened up all sorts of possibilities for the Maryland backfield.

There’s Davin Meggett and Gary Douglas. There’s freshmen D.J. Adams and Caleb Porzel. There’s still Morgan Green, who coach Ralph Friedgen mentioned.

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But there’s also this little nugget: It’s been quite a while since Maryland was anything resembling a three-back team.

Obviously, that doesn’t mean the Terps wouldn’t use three tailbacks in a game. It’s just that it doesn’t happen very often. Ever since the three-headed backfield of Lance Ball, Keon Lattimore and Mario Merrills was scuttled in 2005 when Lattimore got hurt, there haven’t been too many days Maryland gone with the triple threat.

In a span of the last 48 games, here are the times Maryland handed it off to at least three tailbacks:

* William & Mary, 2006: Ball (15), Lattimore (13), Josh Allen (6) and J.P. Humber (1)
* Middle Tennessee, 2006: Ball (14), Lattimore (13), Allen (2)
* West Virginia, 2006: Lattimore (15), Ball (12), Allen (2)
* Florida International, 2006: Ball (19), Allen (9), Lattimore (8)
* Virginia, 2006: Lattimore (15), Ball (12), Allen (1)
* N.C. State, 2006: Ball (17), Lattimore (10), Allen (1)
* Florida State, 2006: Ball (11), Lattimore (10), Allen (5)
* Miami, 2006: Ball (10), Lattimore (5), Allen (3)
* Boston College, 2006: Lattimore (13), Ball (7), Allen (4)
* Purdue, 2006: Lattimore (20), Ball (18), Humber (3)

* Villanova, 2007: Lattimore (21), Ball (11), Green (2)
* Rutgers, 2007: Lattimore (34), Ball (12), Scott (3)
* Florida State, 2007: Lattimore (13), Ball (9), Scott (2)
* N.C. State, 2007: Ball (18), Lattimore (13), Scott (8)
* Oregon State, 2007: Ball (10), Lattimore (7), Scott (1)

* California, 2008: Scott (19), Meggett (13), Green (2)
* Nevada, 2008: Scott (14), Meggett (10), Green (10)

* California, 2009: Scott (13), Meggett (9), Green (5)
* Clemson, 2009: Meggett (10), Douglas (7), Scott (3)

That’s 19 games, which means roughly 40 percent of the time there’s been a third back. If the study is restricted to last 2 1/2 seasons, it tumbles to nine out of 31 games (or less than 30 percent).

Regardless of the frequency, the workload of the third back is seldom very high. Maryland was committed to getting Allen some work early in the 2006 season, but that clearly faced. Scott’s eight carries at N.C. State in 2007 were mostly in garbage time. Green probably wouldn’t have had 10 carries against Nevada if not for Scott’s 30-minute suspension in the Humanitarian Bowl.

And over this stretch, the average number of rushing attempts for backs beyond the top two (Ball/Lattimore in 2006 and ‘07, Scott/Meggett in 2008-09) comes out to 3.9 over these 19 games.

Which is all a long-winded way of saying unless the Terps are planning to make a substantial commitment to rotating backs on a nearly possession-by-possession basis, a third back probably isn’t going to see a substantial workload.

Patrick Stevens