There’s a lot still to be gleaned from Maryland’s camp at a lot of positions.
That even includes the running backs, who probably rank just behind the safeties as the most stable unit on the entire roster.
Running backs coach John Donovan chatted with a couple reporters after yesterday morning’s session and had this to say about Da’Rel Scott, D.J. Adams, Caleb Porzel and more:
Q: Do you see five guys with the potential to play or have you sorted it out?
JD: Not yet. We still have a long way to go. We had two practices [yesterday]. We have guys who have played a lot. Those guys need to get better. Just because they played doesn’t mean they’re where they need to be. We have pretty good depth, but we still need to see more out of everybody. I want to see more improvement in all areas.
Q: What sort of camp have you seen out of the three guys you know a little bit more about —- Scott, Davin Meggett and Morgan Green?
JD: They’ve been as good as what they’ve been. Competition is good and it needs to make people better. The one thing I’ve seen is they’ve been as good as they’ve been before. I think the young guys coming in have performed pretty well and maybe pushed them to get better than they are right now. Hopefully those young guys keep progressing and now we’ve got a lot more guys in a boat making everybody better. It can’t be ‘All right, I’m 1, I’m 2, I’m 3, same as last year.’ Someone needs to try to beat Da’Rel out. That’s how the mentality needs to be right now.
Q: Out of the whole bunch, who do you think is having the best camp from start to now?
JD: The best would probably be Scott and Meggett right now, those two guys. Out of the fullbacks, probably Taylor Watson’s had the best camp out of those guys.
Q: Morgan had a pretty good spring. Has he struggled a little bit?
JD: No. He’s a redshirt junior now, so he needs to be getting it and pushing forward and not being happy with being the third guy. If it all stays the same, he’s probably three right now. He needs to want to be two or one. He needs to show us that he deserves to be ahead of those guys. If all stays the same, that’s probably the order it’s going to be. Hopefully, he shows he needs to play more.
Q: What have you seen out of Adams and Porzel and is there a chance we see one of those guys this year?
JD: That’ll be interesting. They’re great kids and practice hard. They’re fairly smart. Adams is real thick and runs hard and he wants to do well. He’s been very good running the ball, and he’s decent in his aggressiveness in trying to pass pro and block. I really like his attitude.
Porzel brings another —- he has some great change of direction, zero-to-60 speed. He can get going right now. He’s pretty fast and good in the open space. They complement each other very well. I’m very pleased with where they’re at. I think they’re going to be pretty good.
Q: Has Cory [Jackson] been slowed down by that knee injury?
JD: He’s been in there a little bit, but I guess he’s not 100 percent. Even when he’s in there, he’s still pretty good. We’ll see how long he can last before he’s back to full strength. When he’s been in there, he’s as good as he’s been.
Q: Taylor’s separated himself from Haroon Brown pretty much?
JD: Right now, yeah. He’s done a better overall job with everything. He’s definitely the guy if Cory can’t go right now. He’s the next guy.
Q: Can you envision playing three tailbacks this year in rotation?
JD: I’d love to be able to —- to keep them fresh. That means you have three guys you trust, you know? You’ve got to be able to trust them, and you have to be able to trust them in all spots, not just [some]. You don’t know what play is going to be called or what defense is going to be run. You want to be sure the guy who’s in there is going to do the right thing and do it well. Hopefully we’ll be able to play three.
Q: Ralph has talked about Morgan’s pass-blocking being one of his strengths.
JD: That is definitely a strength. He could be a third-down guy. He did it in one or two games last year for us. That is a possibility. We’re not where we need to be there. That is every day, last year and this year, too. It’s not easy to do. Linebackers are tough. They see running backs and they get excited. That was one of the things.
We put Cory in the game and we didn’t have a sack when he went in. We don’t want to put Cory in. He can run the ball and he can catch, but he’s not as fast as those guys. That means if they’re attacking the QB, he’s going to be in there if those guys can’t [block], but it’d be nice if they could. Morgan’s probably better than those two right now.
—- Patrick Stevens