Running back Justus Pickett will be the Terps’ starting running back Saturday at Temple, Coach Randy Edsall said during his weekly postgame conference call Sunday afternoon.
True freshman Albert Reid got the start in Maryland’s 7-6 season-opening win at Byrd Stadium against William & Mary, but Pickett played hero with a six-yard, game-winning touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, his team’s only points of the game after a 69-yard drive.
“I knew a blitz was coming on before they had a pre-snap read,” Pickett said Saturday. “The offensive line did a great job picking it up, and all I had to do was walk into the end zone.”
Pickett finished with 45 yards on 11 carries. Reid had 29 yards on 12 carries, including one drive in which he had consecutive six-yard rushes, but followed it up with a fumble on a hard hit by Jerome Couplin.
Edsall said that Pickett and Reid will be “interchangeable” in the future, but that Pickett performed well enough to earn the starting role.
Freshman Wes Brown did not receive any action Saturday, but Edsall said he is still in the mix to receive future carries as well. Projected starter Brandon Ross was ruled out with a hamstring injury earlier this week.
Other notes from Edsall’s teleconference
●The Terps came away from Saturday as healthy as they entered, which really isn’t saying too much. Edsall, however, does not yet know who will be available against Temple.
“We’ll know a little bit more as we go out to practice here this afternoon, if there’s anybody we’re going to get back for Temple,” Edsall said. “I just had a chance to talk to the trainers about yesterday’s game and the guys there. We’ll know better on Thursday. I don’t know if there’s anyone right now who will be definitely back.”
● As far as Temple goes, Edsall had little to offer. “I don’t have anything right now,” he said. “We’re still putting this game away.”
●Edsall shared some further thoughts on quarterback Perry Hills, who threw three interceptions but still got his first collegiate win.
“We had a better feel for what they were doing,” Edsall said of the adjustments the Terps made offensively at halftime. “We just made some adjustments that we felt helped him be a little more productive to do some things to take the pressure off him. He went out there and executed those things. Had some guys make some big plays too. The thing I liked, he put the ball on the money.”
● Edsall isn’t too worried about kicker Brad Craddock, who sailed a chip-shot 25-yard field goal left in the second quarter. “Knowing Brad the way I know him, he understands it’s one kick, you put it behind you and move forward,” Edsall said.
●Game balls went to Marcus Leak (three receptions, 37 yards) on offense, Joe Vellano (11 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception) on defense, and punter Nathan Renfro (four punts, 53.0 average) on special teams.