With Justus Pickett and Albert Reid bouncing back and forth between starter and reserve, and Brandon Ross still nursing a hamstring injury, Coach Randy Edsall is holding onto hope that the Terps will wind up with a feature running back at some point this season.
Reid got the start against William & Mary and finished with an inconsistent 29 yards on 12 carries that included a couple of six-yard runs, but also a lost fumble. Pickett received the bulk of the second-half carries as Maryland came back from a 6-0 deficit. The sophomore’s six-yard touchdown run provided the difference, and he finished with a team-high 45 yards on 11 carries.
“I think guys get better the more they carry the ball,” Edsall said Thursday. “That’s one of the things we’re finding out, who can be that guy. But I still think, you’ve got to be able to spell him anyhow. You’ve still got to develop those other guys. If there’s things another guy can do, be it short yardage and goal line, or be it on third down, we’re always looking for that.
“Ideally, I’d like to have one guy who’s kind of the main guy, if it works out that way. That’s all depending on the players. The players will determine that.”
Based on what Edsall and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley have been saying about Pickett’s experience throughout the week relative to Reid, a freshman, it looks as though Pickett is the guy heading into Saturday’s game at Temple, though Reid and possibly Wes Brown could receive plenty of time as well.
“He understands the blocking schemes,” Edsall said of Pickett. “I think he’s got a better feel for how to hit the hole and how to read what’s going on. I think that’s the experience. He was probably getting a couple more yards than what it might have looked would be there from the naked eye. He’s more decisive. He’s running with a lot more confidence this year than what he had a year ago. And again, not that he’s ever going to be a big bulky guy, but he’s added strength.
“Kids as freshmen, they’re getting acclimated to their surroundings, what they’re doing. I just see a more confident runner, because of experience, because of strength, just having been through it before.”