With the clock winding down in the first half last Saturday, Maryland running back Albert Reid ripped off the most impressive run of his young college career. On second down from the Old Dominion 27-yard line, the sophomore took an inside read-option handoff from quarterback C.J. Brown. Two linebackers spied Brown on the right side, so a gaping hole opened up through the A-gap.
Reid followed tight end Dave Stinebaugh, who pulled from his stance in the diamond formation and wedged a defender two yards upfield. A defensive back slipped as Reid cut toward the sideline and another Monarchs defender charged over. At this point, Reid was toast, destined to be downed around the 10-yard line.
Then he did this:
Hard to believe, but it was the first touchdown of Reid’s career, despite starting the season opener as a true freshman last year. He only received seven carries against Old Dominion – compared with starter Brandon Ross’s 18 carries for a career-high 149 yards – but Reid capitalized on this chance.
“Albert’s a guy, as we’ve said before, we’ve got two guys who we know for sure have the ability,” offensive coordinator Mike Locksley said Wednesday. “We look at Albert as the starter from the standpoint of 1a and 1b. He’s a kid who works hard, has great vision, I was glad to see him get in the end zone for his first Terp touchdown, did a great job of making a guy miss in space. That’s what you see out of Albert and that’s what you typically get day in and day out. That’s how he’s been able to put himself in a position where he can help us offensively.”
So long as Ross produces like he did Saturday, or if he even halves his 8.3 yards per carry, he should continue to receive the bulk of carries. But Locksley still wants Reid receiving his share of touches. Somewhere between seven to 10 carries sounds reasonable, and there’s always value to be found in Reid’s short-yardage abilities.
“I think Albert’s a little more power, a little more powerful,” Locksley said. “Brandon has the ability to hit the home run, he has the long speed you’d like. They’re a lot more similar than they are different.”
>> Reid’s run was primarily a solo effort, but Locksley praised his receivers for holding their blocks on Saturday.
“It’s definitely something we’ve talked about, with what we’re doing on offense, perimeter blocking is as important as our offensive line protecting our quarterback,” he said. “When you’re looking to get the ball out in space to your playmakers, it entails guys out on the perimeter also making blocks at the point of attack. I thought last week we got better with our perimeter blocking. I thought our backs did a good job of protection, then our receivers, when the ball broke to the second level, we were covering guys up a lot better than the first game.”
>> Against Connecticut, which re-promoted Hank Hughes to defensive coordinator after serving two seasons as assistant head coach, Locksley expects plenty of pressure defense that drops into man coverage and stacks eight defenders into the box with disguised coverage.
“For us, the eighth guy in the box means our zone read game has to be on point with our reads to eliminate the extra guy, then we’ve also got to obviously win out on the perimeter when we’ve got man-to-man coverage,” Locksley said.
>> For two straight weeks now, Maryland’s opening drive has ventured into the opposing red zone and resulted in a field goal. All week, Locksley has preached “start fast and finish strong,” presumably not ignoring “play well in the middle,” too. But he knows the Connecticut crowd, welcoming back Coach Randy Edsall for the first time since he left the program, will give the Terps a rude welcome. So Locksley wants the offense to zap that energy.
“I don’t think we’ve started out the way I’d like to,” he said. “We’ve had two games in a row when our first couple of drives where we’ve had the ball in some favorable positions. For us, the goal is to get off to a fast start. We need to try to take their crowd out of the game. We need to find a way to have success early.”
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