Echoing comments made earlier by Maryland Coach Randy Edsall, offensive coordinator Mike Locksley expressed confidence in running backs Brandon Ross and Albert Reid on Wednesday. But he still didn’t rule out expanding the role of freshman Jacquille Veii.
Veii, a low-rated recruit from the Avalon School who committed on National Signing Day, rushed for 53 yards on eight carries last Saturday against Florida International, appearing with the backups after Maryland opened a 30-point halftime lead. Edsall named Veii as his biggest surprise of summer camp, and he could be the offense’s most valuable freshman this season. He’s a shiftier back than Brandon and Albert, bouncing and spinning off tackles, but lacks the strength to handle an every-down load right now. Besides, the Terps are set at running back, according to Locksley.
“I think right now, with Brandon and Albert, those guys are our feature guys,” Locksley said Wednesday. “I see Jacquille having a role for us. One thing that jumps out is his speed and vision. With some things we like to do in the run game, I think he may be a little more well-suited for those types of plays. I could see him having a role or a package, but in my opinion I still see Brandon and Albert as being the two guys, then having the ability to put together a package for Jacquille that maximizes his skill-set.”
>> Locksley jokingly feigned ignorance when asked about wide receiver Deon Long, who told reporters after his 110-yard Maryland debut on Saturday that he had broken three bones in his lower back and was only cleared for full contact two days before the opener.
“What injury?” Locksley asked. “What are you talking about?”
Long showed no ill effects. He was quick off the snap and out-sprinted a cornerback on a 25-yard touchdown reception. He also showed nifty footwork and awareness on a sideline grab from C.J. Brown. Locksley coached Long during his freshman season at New Mexico, so he knew what the Terps were getting
“I’ve seen Deon play. I probably had a little more information on him than most,” Locksley said. “I wasn’t surprised about his production. I still think, when you put the tape on, there’s a lot of work Deon has to do and I sure he’ll be the first to tell you. We don’t want one-dimensional receivers. We don’t want guys to just catch the ball. We want guys who can block and do all those extra things for our receivers who we’ll continue to stress and push. There’s no doubt he’s a talented guy, a guy we’ll continue to target. He helps things for Stefon [Diggs] and Nigel [King], being on the backside of things. He’ll command a lot of attention on the backside that will open things up for Stefon and for Nigel.”
>> Echoing Edsall’s comments on Tuesday, Locksley was pleased with fullback Kenneth Goins, who started in place of the injured Tyler Cierski (calf).
“I thought Kenny came in, the things he showed Saturday, he made some blocks on the long runs, and he was pretty wide open on the touchdown, so I can’t give him too much credit for that, other than he made the catch,” Locksley said. “You’d expect a Gilman kid to catch the ball, right?”
Goins attended the Gilman School in Baltimore, where Locksley’s son Kai is currently the sophomore starting quarterback. Maryland freshman quarterback Shane Cockerille is also a Gilman graduate, and the Terps are recruiting several highly rated prospects from the in-state powerhouse.
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