Time for another Q&A with a Maryland football assistant from media day (Aug. 6), this time running backs coach Andre Powell. No, it’s not fully timely after two weeks of camp, but it does provide some insight on the guys who could carry the ball for the Terrapins this year.
1. Justus Pickett is the one guy who is sort of a known quantity. What do you think of what he was able to do last year and how did he build on that in the spring?
AP: I think by playing in games the previous year, he’s put himself in position to be a little bit ahead of the other guys. I think what Pickett brings to the table is I think he’s a smart kid, pretty savvy. He’s got a little street toughness to him. And I think he’s a pretty good technician.
1b. The added weight probably helps?
AP: It helps. He looked like a jockey before. He’s added weight. I’m hoping he can hold it. I’m hoping he can add to it a little bit more.
2. With Brandon Ross – obviously he and Pickett are different guys, different bodies, all that – but was the difference last year simply that one picked up blocking schemes better than the other guy? What was the difference between the two?
AP: Last year during camp, Ross probably made more big plays than anybody on this team. Just like a lot of freshmen, they get overcome by volume. In college offenses, there’s a lot of stuff and Pickett was able to grasp it a little better than Ross.
3. What did you think of Ross’ spring this past year?
AP: I think Brandon brings an interesting skillset to the table. From a coaching standpoint, I always like when I put big and fast in the same comparison. So he can make plays. He’s a fast guy and he’s big.
4. There’s no shortage of new tailbacks in camp, including Wes Brown. What have you see on tape about those guys that stands out?
AP: Wes, big and fast. Those are my two favorite things. Big and fast. Not necessarily in that order. Wes, in space, he’s pretty sudden. He’s more sudden you would think that size [would be]. He’s got good route-running ability. He’s got good ball skills. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles volume. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles – they have a good football club over there at Good Counsel and they were better than most people. I’m not sure they played a team that they weren’t better than. Now he’s really going to have to really tax himself because it’s going to be a little tougher here on this level than it was at that level.
5. Without too many specifics, with the system change, how much does that give you guys a little more to give Tyler Cierski to do?
AP: I think it’s going to be more. When you look at our skill guys, and this will be determined more during camp, but he’s one of our better players. When you have a good player, you’ve got to find ways to get him in the game. You have to use what he does best and put him in a position to enhance those skills. And, big and fast, again.
5b. And 6-foot, 255 –
AP: Relatively fast.
5c. But at 6-foot, 255, even though he wasn’t used a lot in those situations, he has the look of a guy who can be a wrecking ball. Is that what you guys see?
AP: He’s got all the traits. He’s big and fast. He’s dependable. He’s coachable. He cares. It’s important to him. He’s got the ball skills. All those intangibles, he has them.