It seemed like a safe bet that Maryland would go unmentioned on College GameDay the rest of the season.
And maybe it wasn’t mentioned. But the Terrapins certainly appeared on Saturday.
Or at least one Terp did.
That would be D.J. Adams, the sophomore tailback who has one carry in the last five games. Adams, who was suspended for Maryland’s season opener and has a pair of DNP-coach’s decision, still shares the team lead in rushing touchdowns with three.
So it’s a relevant player who popped up in the background this morning on ESPN with his image and the words “Free D.J. Adams”:
Fans are flummoxed by the bruiser’s absence from the Terps’ backfield rotation. And while Adams did fumble that lone carry he received, coach Randy Edsall has not delved deeply into what has caused Adams, who has 14 touchdown runs in 86 career carries, to be phased out.
“We just feel the young men that are in front of him are doing the things in those situations that are best for us, just like all the other positions,” Edsall said after last week’s 31-13 loss to Virginia.
As loyal readers know, I love me some numbers. And the case of Adams —- whose minimized usage is maybe the biggest mystery in a bad season littered with head-scratching —- calls for some raw data just to analyze on-field production.
Without access to practice or assistant coaches or even Adams himself (he hasn’t spoken with the media since September), the most balanced thing that can be offered are pure, unadulterated numbers (with some analysis to follow).
MARYLAND RED ZONE CARRIES, SEASON
25: Davin Meggett (3 TD)
12: Justus Pickett (1 TD)
10: D.J. Adams (3 TD)
7: Danny O’Brien (2 TD)
4: C.J. Brown
1: Tyler Cierski
1: Jeremiah Wilson
MARYLAND RED ZONE CARRIES, LAST FIVE GAMES
11: Davin Meggett (2 TD)
6: Danny O’Brien (2 TD)
5: Justus Pickett
4: C.J. Brown
1: D.J. Adams
1: Tyler Cierski
THIRD & SHORT CARRIES BY PLAYER, SEASON
DAVIN MEGGETT (4/6)
2/40: Meggett 6 run (Georgia Tech, Q1)
1/(44): Meggett 0 run (Georgia Tech, Q4)
2/(35): Meggett 3 run (Clemson, Q4)
1/28: Meggett 3 run (Florida State, Q1)
1/40: Meggett 10 run (Florida State, Q1)
G/(1): Meggett toss left for loss of 1 (Virginia, Q2)
JUSTUS PICKETT (3/5)
1/(18): Pickett 3 run (Miami, Q1)
3/(4): Pickett run for loss of 1 (Miami, Q2)
1/(17): Pickett 9 run (Towson, Q4)
1/29: Pickett 7 run (Georgia Tech, Q2)
3/(15): Pickett 2 run (Boston College, Q3)
D.J. ADAMS (2/4)
2/40: Adams 17 run (West Virginia, Q2)
2/48: Adams 2 run (West Virginia, Q2)
1/35: Adams 0 run (West Virginia, Q4)
2/47: Adams 1 run (Temple, Q3)
C.J. BROWN (2/3)
1/29: Brown 15 run (Temple, Q4)
2/48: Brown 3 run (Clemson, Q2)
1/(44): Brown 0 run (Clemson, Q4)
DANNY O’BRIEN (2/3)
3/29: O’Brien 24 run (Miami, Q3)
1/29: O’Brien 2 run (Florida State, Q3)
G/(1): O’Brien 0 run (Boston College, Q4)
QUINTIN McCREE (1/1)
1/41: McCree 1 run (Florida State, Q2)
FOURTH & SHORT CARRIES BY PLAYER, SEASON
DANNY O’BRIEN (3/3)
1/(28): O’Brien 1 run (Miami, Q4)
1/29: O’Brien 2 run (Temple, Q1)
G/(1): O’Brien 1 touchdown run (Boston College, Q4)
DAVIN MEGGETT (2/2)
G/(1): Meggett 1 touchdown run (Georgia Tech, Q4)
1/(44): Meggett 1 run (Clemson, Q4)
C.J. BROWN (1/1)
1/(44): Brown 2 run (Georgia Tech, Q4)
D.J. ADAMS (2/5)
1/35: Adams 5 run (West Virginia, Q4)
2/(9): Adams runs for loss of 1 (Temple, Q2)
1/48: Adams 0 run (Temple, Q4)
2/(29): Adams 1 run (Towson, Q1)
1/(13): Adams 3 run (Boston College, Q3)
A few statistical observations:
* There have been 15 third-and-short (defined as needing three yards or less) rushing attempts by Maryland since Adams’ last third-and-short carry.
* Maryland is 8-for-12 in converting third-and-short rushing attempts during its five-game losing streak.
* Maryland is 8-for-11 in converting fourth-and-short rushing attempts, with Adams accounting for all three failures. But when it’s sliced down to fourth-and-1, the Terps are 8-for-9 and Adams is 2-for-3. Adams is the only player to be asked to try a fourth-and-2 this season (both of which were stopped).
* Third-and-1 conversion totals: Meggett 2-for-4; Pickett 3-for-3; Adams 0-for-1; Brown 1-for-2; O’Brien 1-for-2
* Red zone third-and-short conversion totals: Meggett 1-for-1; Pickett 2-for-3; O’Brien 0-for-1. Adams does not have a third-and-short attempt in the red zone this season.
* Red zone fourth-and-short conversion totals: Meggett 1-for-1, O’Brien 1-for-1, Adams 1-for-2.
Here’s what the numbers tell me: There’s probably an argument to be made that Maryland isn’t any worse off than it would have been otherwise. Seriously. Perhaps the most startling part of the breakdown is Maryland —- with a roster recruited under a previous staff for a power rushing game —- has only had 22 third-and-short carries in nine games. But that’s an analysis for another time. Ultimately, Adams’ numbers aren’t outrageously great or terrible.
The problem is whatever argument there is in favor of the choices of the first nine games really hasn’t been made beyond effectively offering a “because that’s the way it is” case. That works with kindergartners. It’s usually less effective with adults (or young men, as the case may be).
And that gets at the heart of the matter. Ultimately, the absence of an explanation of any substance is how a plea to see more of a running back on a 2-7 team who has all of 19 carries on the season ends up prominently displayed on a television show taped 3,000 miles away from that team’s campus.
—- Patrick Stevens