A rushing attack that has already closed out two Maryland wins in the fourth quarter will get another boost Saturday when Brandon Ross returns from a hamstring injury. Ross, a redshirt freshman, is officially listed as “probable,” according to Coach Randy Edsall.
Ross, who was Maryland’s projected starter entering the season opener against William & Mary but has yet to suit up, practiced “really well” on Wednesday. Edsall was unsure where Ross would slide into the backfield rotation Saturday against Connecticut, but felt strong that Ross would, at the very least, begin contributing against West Virginia on Sept. 22.
“He’s pretty much been on the scout team all week,” Edsall said. “But he’s been in the meetings all week, sitting in them since camp to stay up on game plans and everything we’re doing. It’s one of those things, you have to watch him on the scout team to see if he’s physically ready to go, because he hasn’t been doing a lot of conditioning from that standpoint.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley spoke to Ross’s potential as a “home run threat,” noting that his return would add “another weapon in [Maryland’s] arsenal.”
Tate on the mend
Linebacker Kenny Tate, who went down with a knee injury during preseason practice, has begun working with the scout team, and Edsall is optimistic that the senior will begin practicing the week leading up to the West Virginia game.
During Wednesday’s practice, Edsall was watching Tate work individual drills and spoke with head football trainer Wes Robinson, who cleared Tate to practice for multiple team periods with the scout team. Edsall then asked Tate if he felt ready.
“He said: ‘Yeah, I’d love to. I’ve wanted to for a couple weeks now,’ ” Edsall said. “Watching the film, I thought he did pretty good.”
Tate had season-ending knee surgery last season, and was suffering from what Edsall called “some cartilage issues” in August.
Kicker Nick Ferrara is still out with a hip injury, and Edsall says he is taking it “week to week” with the senior.
Edsall had a conversation with Ferrara on Wednesday, and told him to just get healthy.
“When the trainers and doctors tell me a guy is ready to go and play, I’ll make the decision as to how that guy can help and win a game,” Edsall said. “I’ll just let it play out from week to week, like with all these guys.”
In Ferrara’s stead, freshman Brad Craddock has handled kickoff and placement kicking duties. Edsall said that having Ferrara, who has a stronger leg than Craddock, back would give the Terps a greater chance of touchbacks on kickoffs.
“Nick’s a proven commodity,” Edsall said. “If Nick’s healthy, and if Nick can get out there and kick the ball through the end zone all the time for us on kickoffs, that can be worth something to us. . . . There are all kinds of factors that play into these decisions.”
Fullback Tyler Cierski, who left the Temple game with an undisclosed injury, is out against Connecticut with a concussion, Edsall announced.