By Eric Prisbell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Three days after expressing frustration over two fumbles by junior Da'Rel Scott, Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen said he maintains full confidence in his starting running back.
"I have not lost one bit of faith in Da'Rel," Friedgen said Tuesday.
The best and worst of Scott, who earned first-team all-ACC honors last season, was on display in the Terrapins' 32-31 loss to Middle Tennessee on Saturday.
Scott's 48-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was offset by two costly fumbles that allowed the Blue Raiders to rally.
After Scott's second fumble, Maryland primarily went with sophomore Davin Meggett at running back. After the game, Friedgen, visibly angry over the fumbles, said if a player continues to fumble he cannot be put in the game.
Through three games, Scott is averaging 91.7 yards per game -- second in the ACC -- and has averaged 6.4 yards per carry and scored three touchdowns.
Meggett, who rushed for 457 yards last season, carried the ball a team-high 18 times for 51 yards and one touchdown against Middle Tennessee. He also had a career-high six receptions for 63 yards.
Meggett now ranks third on the team with nine receptions, equaling his total from last season.Inexperience Shows
Friedgen showed his team a clip package of 31 plays from the Middle Tennessee game and said that if any one of those plays had gone in Maryland's favor, the Terrapins could have won the game.
Friedgen continued to praise the work ethic of his team but said that inexperienced players need to work on translating solid practice performance to the field for games.
"We have a young team," Friedgen said. "I know people are tired of hearing that."
One problem, Friedgen said, is that some players freeze up when they get into the game or "go into a shell" after they make a mistake in the game. Penalties and turnovers have been among the issues that have defined Maryland's first three games, all disappointing performances.
"This is not the NFL," Friedgen said. "You can't bring someone in." . . .
The new-look defense has been among the biggest disappointments of the young season. But Friedgen saw some signs of improvement.
Maryland entered the Middle Tennessee game having totaled six tackles for loss and two sacks. The Terrapins had 10 tackles for loss against the Blue Raiders, including four sacks for 45 yards. They also intercepted two passes and had three pass breakups.
"We were better against the run," Friedgen said. "Our tackling and pursuit was better."