This is both a backward- and forward-looking post, and in time it will get to the latter in the wake of Maryland tailback Da’Rel Scott’s broken forearm, which is expected to cost him the rest of the season.
Maryland has lost running backs either to injury or graduation a fair amount over the last decade. And oddly enough, it usually survives quite nicely.
LaMont Jordan left Maryland as its all-time leading rusher after the 2000 season. Bruce Perry’s reply as a sophomore in ‘01? Run for 1,242 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Perry then had a bunch of injuries in 2002. So what happened? Chris Downs, he of four career carries entering his senior season, ran for 1,154 yards and 13 scores.
And Perry has some nagging injuries as a senior? No fret. Josh Allen simply uncorked back-to-back 140-yard games late in the season before Perry returned.
No Allen in 2005 after reconstructive knee surgery? No worries. Lance Ball stepped to run for 903 yards and 4.8 yards a carry.
Ball and Keon Lattimore departed after the 2007 season after two full seasons of splitting time. So what happened? Scott ran for 1,133 yards last year and no one gave much thought to the loss of the tandem sometimes dubbed Leon Baltimore.
And if College Park examples don’t hold up, how about looking down in Blacksburg, where Virginia Tech fans were inconsolable after workhorse back Darren Evans was lost for the year in the preseason. But that offensive line and tight end of his were going nowhere, and unsurprisingly Ryan Williams has fared quite well after getting plugged in as the Hokies’ primary back.
Which brings us back to the present and a look to Maryland’s near future. Davin Meggett has averaged 4.4 yards a carry in his career – though only rarely running when the offensive line was completely fresh at the start of a day. Gary Douglas and Morgan Green have modest and minimal track records, while D.J. Adams has yet to play.
All of them will do only as well as their offensive line (which turned in a superb second quarter and change yesterday) allows them to.
So yes, for Scott personally, this is a painful development. And psychologically, maybe the Terps start wondering what is going on now that they’ve lost their starting tailback and best cornerback (Nolan Carroll) for the year and have played without left tackle Bruce Campbell and safety Jamari McCollough for stretches already.
But considering the that Maryland’s three best rushing seasons this decade (Perry ‘01, Downs ‘02 and Scott ‘08) followed some serious uncertainty, this probably won’t be as damaging as a lot of fans believe. Answers at tailback have a way of being found – assuming the replacements have holes to run through.