Redshirt Freshman Gary Douglas Is in the Competition for Backup Running Back at Maryland
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Maryland redshirt freshman Gary Douglas added his name to the competition at backup running back with his performance -- 122 yards on 17 carries -- in the Terrapins' second scrimmage on Sunday.
Douglas left an impression on teammates and coaches because of the ease with which he ran and because most of the yards came against the same first-team defense that had shut down most of the offensive players in the team's first scrimmage.
"Everyone kind of knows he is capable of that," Maryland quarterback Chris Turner said. "He is a very smooth runner, and it looks very natural when he runs."
Junior Da'Rel Scott, who earned first-team all-ACC honors last season, is expected to be the starter, with sophomore Davin Meggett backing up Scott. Douglas is battling junior Morgan Green for the No. 3 position.
Coach Ralph Friedgen said Douglas, who has good lateral quickness, may be the most elusive Maryland back. The problem: pass protection. Douglas said he knows deficiencies in that area will keep him off the field.
"That is what I need to do," Douglas said.
Two other young running backs who have impressed Friedgen, true freshmen D.J. Adams and Caleb Porzel, have also struggled with pass protection. Both are willing to be physical, Friedgen said, but they understandably have more protection assignments than ever before, and there is a learning curve.
"If you put the ball in their hands, they are not bad," Friedgen said. "But we'll lose a quarterback if they don't know what the protection is or who they have in protection."
Porzel, who teammates said is among the fastest players on the team, has been particularly impressive. On Sunday, he zigzagged around defenders for a 35-yard score that was nullified because of a penalty.
His emergence has made Friedgen seriously consider whether Porzel could help the Terrapins this season.
"I have a feeling we are going to play that kid somewhere," Friedgen said. "I can't afford to go a whole year without playing him. I've got to get every guy who can get the ball across the goal line."
Wanted: a Kicker
Redshirt freshman Mike Barbour continues to squander opportunities to lock up the job as the Terrapins' starting place kicker.
Barbour made four kicks in Sunday's scrimmage but missed his last three kicks -- all longer than 40 yards -- leaving Friedgen looking for more consistency before he names a starter.
"He kind of looks like he solidifies the job," Friedgen said, "and then he opens it up again."
Friedgen had hoped to name a starter by this point in camp, but competition is expected to continue this week. Junior Nick Wallace has been inconsistent.
"I am trying to find the guy who can be consistent," Friedgen said. "I only have 13 days left to find a kicker, so I can't be wasting time on guys who really have not shown me anything."
Counting on Logan
Friedgen felt secure with sophomore Tony Logan as the team's punt returner until he dropped a punt late in Sunday's scrimmage. Friedgen liked Logan's decisions on whether to call for a fair catch and said, "I am counting on him to give us something in the return game." Logan played well -- six returns for 49 yards -- in place of Danny Oquendo as the top punt returner in last season's Humanitarian Bowl.