Maryland tailback Morgan Green is, as usual, enjoying a solid spring.
This time he hopes it carries over to when it really counts.
The bulky junior never seems to struggle as the days are growing longer and the season is still months away. But August has a way of tripping him up in some fashion.
A hamstring injury cost him half of his 2007 season. Last year, he came to camp competing with Da’Rel Scott for a starting job. Green suffered a nagging quadriceps injury, Scott ran for more than 1,100 yards and true freshman Davin Meggett secured the No. 2 spot.
So the strong spring is nice. Green, though, covets something else: good health when the Sept. 5 opener at California arrives.
“That’s all I want,” Green said. “If I make it through camp, I’ll be the happiest guy ever because then I’ll know I’ll have a good season. It seems like it’s the camp jinx for me.”
Those injuries always served as a spoiler for a guy who was the perfect recruit: a local guy (from White Plains, Md.) who ran for more than 5,000 yards in high school.
But first there was a year at Hargrave Military Academy. Then a redshirt year. Then a single appearance against Villanova in 2007.
And that was before both Scott and Meggett passed him last season. Green played sparingly but did well in his brief appearances. He scored two touchdowns when Scott sat out against Eastern Michigan, then ran 53 yards for a touchdown in the Humanitarian Bowl while Scott was benched for a curfew violation.
He has looked even better in the spring, rolling up 104 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in two scrimmages. He’ll likely spend some time with the first team in Saturday’s spring game since Scott will sit out after spraining a knee last weekend.
“At the end of last year, I saw Morgan start to come on. He played well in the bowl game,” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “He’s kind of picked it up right now. I think he’s running with more authority and more confidently, and I’m hoping he’s going to turn into the back we all thought he would be.”
It would require reversing his annual arc of taking one bad step. Most of Green’s injuries are muscle pulls suffered outside of contact drills, an unintentionally self-inflicted series of setbacks Green admits frazzle him.
In a perfect scenario, Green would simply skip over the next three months, the better for the 5-foot-11, 222-pound bruiser to avoid any mishaps. Instead, he’ll try to finish the spring strong (and healthy) before concentrating on improving his elusiveness over the summer.
“Basically speed,” Green said. “I’m the strongest person on the team. I don’t need to work on strength anymore.”
He could use a little patience, if only because his winding career required plenty of it already. If it seems like Green was on the periphery of the Terps’ tailback discussion for an eternity, it’s because the 22-year-old finished his superlative high school career in 2004 and signed with Maryland a few months later.
Since then, he’s had plenty of time to ponder his football future.
“It feels like I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting,” Green said. “I’m just waiting for my chance. When you’re not playing, it feels like forever. It’s like, ‘Man, when is he going to play? Where’s Green at?’ ”
If he can finally follow up a superb spring with a lucky August, maybe he’ll answer that question soon.
Notes - Friedgen said nose tackle Dion Armstrong, who is sitting out spring practice with academic issues, has shown progress in his attempt to become eligible next season. “It’s 50-50 right now,” Friedgen said….
Cornerback Nolan Carroll (concussion) has a chance to return for the spring game, while Friedgen is optimistic wide receiver Kevin Dorsey (shoulder) will be back at practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday’s session.
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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