Starting today, we're going to run down the season, unit-by-unit, reviewing Maryland's worst season since the Civil Rights Era. We'll finish off with the reader-voted Terperlatives. Today, we review the running backs.
There were three positions Maryland knew they were loaded at coming into the season: running back, wide receiver, and safety. None turned out as well as they had expected, but it could be argued that, of them all, the running backs were the most disappointing.
Was it the running backs themselves? The terrible offensive line? Something else entirely? We can't quantify how much of what is to blame, but it's safe to say the first two definitely contributed. Da'Rel Scott and Davin Meggett didn't become entirely ineffective on their own, but Bruce Campbell wasn't stripping Scott, either.
|2009 - Da'Rel Scott||7||85||425||60.7||5||4||12||101||14.4||8.4||0|
Maryland's leading rusher, star player, and darkhorse ACC POY candidate (yes, really), Scott's season was supremely disappointing. Not necessarily because he was bad, but rather because he was hurt.
Scott was on target for a great year coming into the season, and it never really materialized. Despite a few nice games against Cal (most of which didn't matter) and MTSU and an average one against JMU, he failed to impress like he did last year. Those issues were compounded by constant fumbles, which prompted him to get benched for much of the following game. Then, against Clemson, he got hurt, and was out until the Florida State game - that's five games. He looked good against FSU, and okay against Boston College. Still, when reviewing the whole thing, it wasn't a great year for DRS, injury or not.
The question is, as I said above, whether or not that's on him or the line. Certainly, he can't be expected to excel when there's no wholes. At the same time, the fumbles that were ultimately his downfall weren't the line's fault, and you just have to hope that that's not a recurring issue.
He'll be the starter next year, I'm almost certain. He deserves it, and without C.J. Spiller, will be one of the best backs in the conference if the offensive line shows up, provided he holds onto the ball.
|2009 - Davin Meggett||12||99||337||28.1||3.4||6||14||175||14.6||12.5||1|
Remember this play? This play set off the legacy, so to speak, of Meggett, who had an outstanding freshman campaign. Just about everyone fell in love with his downhill, no-nonsense style, and I considered him as a possibility to challenge for the starting spot. Regardless of his position on the depth chart, it was clear he deserved a lot of carries.
Well, until he started the season. Despite Scott's absence giving him the starting spot for most of the year, he was quiet and mostly ineffective. Unlike last year, he seemed tentative, not quick and decisive, and the oh-so-commong ten-to-twelve yard runs were few and far between.
Much like Scott, I don't think it was his doing. A solid OL gave him the comfort of being able to be decisive and quick; with a poor offensive line, he had to wait longer for holes to develop, and they just weren't there. Like Turner, his disappointing season wasn't entirely on him; he's just not that elusive, and that doesn't go well with a poor offensive line.
I hope to see a return to the Meggett of old next year, and I think we'll get it. He was a joy to watch last year, but a pain this one. With a full-strength Meggett and Scott, Maryland will be loaded at RB again next year. Again, though, this will all be dependent on OL improvement.
|2009 - Gary Douglas||5||16||81||16.2||5.1||0||6||78||15.6||13||0|
This one's tough. Douglas showed some stuff when Scott was injured and Meggett was ineffective; he's shifty and probably the most complete back out of everyone on the roster. He had 81 yards of total offense against Wake Forest, and looked plenty good doing it. He would slowly drift away to Caleb Porzel, who we'll get to later, and eventually get injured against Duke. After the injury, he was done for the year, despite being healthy against VT.
Douglas will be facing an uphill battle to get any playing time from now till when he graduates. D.J. Adams and Porzel are there, and will dominate the playing time in the future. Next year belongs to Scott and Meggett. Douglas, despite his complete game, won't see much PT unless he's surprisingly impressive.
|2009 - Caleb Portzel||5||30||75||15||2.5||0||3||24||4.8||8||0|
Ah, the dreaded Porzel redshirt. Porzel burnt his redshirt, worth its weight in his gold - not saying that much, he barely reaches 150 - on 30 carries and 75 yards. I would've been fine with it had he been used more, but he rarely got carries, and it's tough to call his burnt redshirt anything other than a waste.
Next year, with all the RBs back and the introduction of D.J. Adams, Porzel won't see a lot more time. He's extremely dangerous, though, and it's up to the coaching staff to find ways to get him the ball in a Brian Westbrook sort of way; slot receiver, screens, anything.
Who? Green, despite below-average performances from everyone else, never saw the field, and the curse of Steve Slaton continues.
It's bright. Everyone returns, and D.J. Adams makes his debut. If the line is okay, these guys could be very, very good. Multiple back sets should be common, because they have the depth to do it. As I said earlier, Porzel should be a slot receiver and get a lot of screen passes and punt returns. Adams very well could be the goal-line back. I wouldn't mind seeing Meggett and Scott in the backfield at the same time.
The possibility of a triple option attack has been bandied about, but I don't think it's possible, nor would it be particularly effective. That said, a few triple option and spread plays will likely find their way into the playbook if the starter turns out to be Robinson, Brown, or Burns.