I told you so.
OK, no one likes someone who brags about being a know-it-all. Trust me. I know.
But for all the fretting about Maryland’s running backs before this season, those concerns seemed downright silly in retrospect.
Here, by the way, is a two-paragraph bit from the link above while looking back at Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore:
In 2006, Ball and Lattimore combined for 334 carries, 1,558 yards, 4.7 yards/carry and 11 touchdowns.
In 2007, Ball and Lattimore combined for 395 carries, 1,573 yards, 4.0 yards/carry and 25 touchdowns.
The assumption (which was wrong) was that Da’Rel Scott and Morgan Green would capably replace them. Instead, it was Scott and Davin Meggett. No matter.
In 2008, Scott and Meggett combined for 299 carries, 1,590 yards, 5.3 yards/carry and 12 touchdowns. Which is to say they were better on a per play basis even if they didn’t get to vulture as many touchdowns as their predecessors.
(Include Green in the mix and it’s 323 carries, 1,702 yards, 5.3 yards/carry and 15 touchdowns).
Scott finished the season witha flourish, following up a half-long suspension with 174 yards on 14 carries in the Humanitarian Bowl. It was one of the few times over the last few seasons a Maryland running back —- which so often, like with many teams, looks replaceable with a comparable cog —- was simply dominant.
Scott wound up with a 1,000-yard season, the first Terp to do so since Chris Downs in 2002. Meggett is just as promising, and it would be no surprise if he forces a more even timeshare next fall.
Green’s still around. So, too, is Gary Douglas. And then there are a couple recruits in a class that won’t include West Virginia-bound Tavon Austin.
But that’s to consider next season. For now, the reflection is on ‘08.
Scott started and finished strong, but the running game in general was halted for much of conference play. Besides Nevada and maybe North Carolina or Wake Forest, the Terps didn’t run substantially better than expected all that much.
So much of that’s on a veteran offensive line, and their struggles will be addressed in a later rewind post.
Most running backs need holes to run through to succeed. They didn’t exist for portions of the season, and the rushing attack faltered as a result. So here’s what we know: Scott isn’t Jim Brown or Barry Sanders, though that is no crime at all.
One piece of blocking that did usually go well was the work of fullback Cory Jackson. Maryland was usually a better offensive outfit with him on the floor, and he warrants a spot right alongside Chris Turner and Edwin Williams is the team’s offensive MVP consideration.
His backups —- Haroon Brown and, later, Taylor Watson —- are also capable, and next year’s fullback preview will not be filled with many questions. The Terps already have their answers there.
So too is the case at tailback, where the options will remain plentiful so long as Maryland doesn’t endure a fall like the Denver Broncos just did. Scott and Meggett filled a void so much as they quieted questions this season, and it’s safe to say they’ll be as good as their o-line allows them to be in ‘09.
—- Patrick Stevens