This past spring, Maryland’s running backs were a highlight.
The recent suspension of Wes Brown -- last year’s second-leading rusher -- doesn’t change that, as Brown didn’t participate this spring because he was recovering from two surgeries. It does weaken the overall group, but it won’t diminish Maryland’s chances of getting to a bowl game this year. It’s not clear how long Brown will be suspended, as the investigation is still ongoing, but Maryland is deep enough at the position that it could survive without its most talented back if need be.
Even if Brown weren’t suspended, odds are Brandon Ross and Albert Reid would have had a leg up on the competition because they were so impressive this spring, along with redshirt freshman Joe Riddle. In the spring game, both Ross and Reid ran for over 100 yards. Ross, who was praised by coach Randy Edsall this spring for his ability to run inside or outside, had 123 yards on 10 carries, while Reid had 138 yards on 23 carries in the spring game. Ross came on strong toward the end of the season, as he had at least 100 rushing yards in two of the final three games.
In early April, all three of the running backs scored in a scrimmage -- a sign of much-needed improvement. All three were listed as co-starters on the depth chart heading into summer camp, but if Ross picks up where he left off, he could steal the spotlight. Ross last year led the team in rushing with 390 yards and Reid had 92, as Maryland had one of the worst running games in the country.
Don’t forget, though, that the Terps were counting on a backup linebacker as their starting quarterback. If Maryland can actually pass the ball this year (and it should be able to, with the return of C.J. Brown), the Terps won’t have to be so predictable and one-dimensional. Last year, Maryland’s running game ranked No. 112 in the country at 103 yards per game.
While Brown’s suspension will hurt the team’s depth, it shouldn’t hurt Maryland’s chances of improving those numbers.