Looking to rebound from a disastrous 2009 season the University of Maryland football team will need a lot of units to step up in order to bounce back. One of the deepest and most capable units for the Terps is their stable of running backs. The Maryland backs have varied skill sets. They have a home-run threat in Da’rel Scott, a more physical runner in Davin Meggett, an all-around gifted runner in DJ Adams, and the shifty Gary Douglas. With all this talent and a return to an option style attack the Maryland backfield will have plenty of opportunity to shine. The question is will they be able to carry the offense?
The Terps hope that Scott can bounce back from an injury plagued 2009 season. Scott is the lone senior in the back field and is Maryland’s top option to carry the ball. The trouble is that Scott has been less than durable in his time at Maryland, but if healthy he can return to his all-ACC form of 2 years ago. Scott is an effective runner and pass catcher and excels when he can get out into space and use his great speed. Backing up Scott is the sun of former NFL all purpose back Dave Meggett. Meggett burst onto the scene 2 years ago as a freshman, but like most of the Terps had a disappointing season in ’09. Much of that can be attributed to a poor offense and spotty line play, but Meggett is certainly looking to bounce back. Meggett is the more physical of the top 2 backs and will figure to get more touches in short yardage situations. The hope is that Meggett can get back to his 5+ yards per carry of 2 seasons ago.
After Megget and Scott, the Terps have some good young talent and are most excited about the abilities of red-shirt freshman DJ Adams. Adams is likely to be the man main in the Terps backfield in a couple of years, but for now he will be third on the depth chart and will have the chance to get better and stronger for more carries in the future. Adams is a do it all type back. He is a physical and swift runner who is good inside and outside of the tackles. Adams showed what he is capable of in Maryland’s spring game running for 71 yards and 2 TD’s. Gary Douglas is the Terps 4th RB. Douglas, a sophomore, showed well last season as his touches increased when Scott went down. Douglas is elusive in the open field, but needs to get stronger like a lot of young players do. Douglas will not be a forgotten man as the Terps should look to use four backs next season.
In order for the Terps backfield to put up big numbers they will need QB Jamarr Robinson to run the offense well and they will need vastly improved line play. Another key element in the Terrapin rushing attack will be finding a replacement for the departed Cory Jackson at fullback. Jackson was a 3 year starter and a physical presence, opening up many holes in his years. The leading candidates to replace Jackson are Taylor Watson and Haroon Brown. Watson injured his knee in the spring opening the door for Brown to take the job. Watson will likely miss the early part of the season. For now the Terps will lean on Brown, but Watson should get back in the mix when he returns.
The Terps will be a run heavy team this year, but opposing defenses will also do their best to take away the Terps ground game, as they will be limited int the passing game. The talent is there to run the ball well, but the other elements on offense need to step up so the Terps are not too predictable. Can the Terps and Ralph Friedgen return to the exciting and unpredictable triple option attack? The success of their season may depend on it.