Let it be said: Maryland coach Randy Edsall’s history of extensively relying on one running back could continue.
And Davin Meggett, it would seem, is the favorite to fill that role.
“I told him he has to be ready to be a workhorse,” Edsall said. “I think he relishes that opportunity. I told him he has to be a complete running back. I don’t want him as just a first- or second-down guy. I want him a guy who can go in there and play all three downs. I know in my mind he has the ability to do that.”
Meggett has 314 career carries for 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns. Edsall had two running backs match or exceed all three of those numbers in a single season within the last three years.
Needless to say, that stands out a bit. But in terms of a long-term philosophy shift, nothing quite summarizes it like looking at the top rushing attempts from Connecticut and Maryland over the last decade.
LARGEST INDIVIDUAL RUSHING ATTEMPT TOTALS, CONNECTICUT AND MARYLAND, 2001-2010
|Rank ||UConn Rusher||Carries ||Maryland Rusher||Carries|
|1.||Donald Brown (2008) ||367||Bruce Perry (2001) ||219|
|2.||Jordan Todman (2010)||334||Keon Lattimore (2007) ||213|
|3.||Andre Dixon (2009)||239||Da’Rel Scott (2008)||209|
|4.||Cornell Brockington (2004) ||238||Chris Downs (2002)||208|
|5.||Jordan Todman (2009)||235||Lance Ball (2005)||189|
|6.||Terry Caulley (2002)||220||Josh Allen (2003)||186|
|7.||Donald Brown (2007)||170||Lance Ball (2007)||182|
|8.||Andre Dixon (2007)||167||Lance Ball (2006)||174|
|9.||Donald Brown (2006)||161||Keon Lattimore (2006)||160|
|10. ||Terry Caulley (2005)||141||Bruce Perry (2003)||147|
So … Connecticut had six running backs in the last decade reach 220 carries, while Maryland didn’t (sort of, since bowl statistics didn’t count in the season and career statistics in college football until 2002; including the Orange Bowl, Bruce Perry had 230 carries in ‘01).
Much of the difference is accounted for by Ralph Friedgen’s preference for a multi-back rotation. Indeed, both years Friedgen served as his own offensive coordinator are represented twice on the chart.
All of this begs the question of whether the Connecticut comparison means much, since Edsall has a new offensive coordinator at Maryland. It’s possible it might not. Nonetheless, it does lend a little insight into what Edsall might deem a “workhorse.”
That could be Meggett’s gig if he fends off sophomore D.J. Adams (who etched out a solid niche as a goal line back late last season) for the starting tailback job. And as Edsall indicated yesterday, the responsibilities with that position could be significant.
“He has to get better as a pass protector, but that’s the challenge for him,” Edsall said of Meggett. “That’s the message we’ve told him, that we want him to be a complete, every-down back who can do everything. Can run the ball inside, can run the ball outside, can catch the ball out of the backfield, can do a good job in pass protection. I think he has all the skills necessary to do that.”