What’s a week of Maryland football without running back intrigue? Yep, that came up during Terrapins coach Randy Edsall‘s chat with reporters Sunday …
PICKETT TO START?
Sophomore Justus Pickett might have another turn looming as Maryland starting tailback.
Edsall said he was leaning toward using Pickett and freshman Wes Brown as his primary running backs after Maryland’s 19-14 defeat of Wake Forest.
“When you take a look and see in the three wins, the guy who’s stepped up big at the end has been Justus Pickett,” Edsall said. “We’re going to talk a little bit. I think it’ll be Justus and Wes doing the heavy load stuff there.”
That would seem to leave Brandon Ross and Albert Reid with more marginal roles.
For now, anyway.
If Pickett starts at Virginia, it would be the third starting tailback change this year (arguably fourth, since Reid got the nod over an injured Ross in the opener).
Because it’s worth breaking this down, here’s a look at the fourth-quarter production of Maryland’s tailbacks through five games:
Pickett: 20-72, 3 TD
And in Maryland’s three victories:
Pickett: 20-72, 3 TD
Based on Edsall’s argument in favor of Pickett, there’s a little bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy going on here. Pickett’s “stepped up big at the end” in part because he’s had the opportunity to. Nonetheless, it’s fair to conclude from his work on Maryland’s last three possessions that Edsall is more comfortable with Pickett in meaningful end-game situations than any of his freshmen.
This would seem to make Pickett both a starter and a finisher.
FRESHMAN OFFENSIVE LINEMEN HOLD UP
Despite a false start on both Mike Madaras and Andrew Zeller, Edsall seemed encouraged by their first starts.
Madaras, a true freshman, started at left tackle. Zeller, a redshirt freshman, got the nod at right guard.
“I thought they held up pretty good,” Edsall said. “I thought Mike did a good job. He had a couple busts and so did Andrew, but we have the right people in there. Now we have to continue to get them reps and get them better. I thought they held their own. They did a good job, but there’s a lot of room for improvement, but you’d expect that out of a redshirt freshman and a true freshman who are getting their first starts.”
PREGAME INJURY SHELVES GOREE
Linebacker L.A Goree did not play Saturday after suffering a pregame injury.
“First time I’ve lost a guy in pregame warmups …,” said Edsall, who does not think the undisclosed ailment is serious. “He had an issue. We came out and they told me he wasn’t ready to go. That was a first.”
TATE PLAYS 44
Linebacker Kenneth Tate logged 44 snaps, down from 54 in his season debut against West Virginia.
His presence was still felt.
Edsall said coaches’ film credited Tate with three tackles, two assists, a tackle for loss, two quarterback hurries, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two pass breakups.
“He had a very productive day,” Edsall said.
Looks like there’s an early leader for the understatement of the week.
Edsall awarded game balls to wide receiver Kevin Dorsey (offense), cornerback Jeremiah Johnson (defense) and safety Anthony Nixon (special teams)
—- Patrick Stevens