Running Back Brandon Ross is One of Many Terrapins That Can Solidify Their Status This Spring
As the ACC‘s spring practices get under way, we’ll be previewing the big storylines for each of the league’s 14 (15, in this case) teams. Check back on weekdays for what to look out for during your school’s spring practices and spring game.
Maryland’s 2012 season was a complete and utter disaster — five quarterbacks (one of whom was a linebacker), a multitude of defensive injuries and a six-game losing streak to close out the year. And unfortunately, we’re not entirely out of the woods yet, either. While the offseason’s been abuzz around the Terps’ impending move to the Big Ten and their lawsuit to leave the ACC, things have been progressing equally as slow on the field, as their quarterbacks are still unavailable for contact drills.
Those passers — C.J. Brown (clubhouse favorite to (re-)win the starting job), Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe — have thrown on a limited basis this spring, so it’s unlikely we’ll gain any clarity at the position ’till July. So instead, the first week or so of spring practice has actually worked to muddle the situation a bit. Transfers Dustin Dailey and Ricardo Young are taking more reps and working with the first team; meaning they’re also the ones most likely to have the best rapport with returning star receiver Stefon Diggs (huge advantage). No matter who’s throwing the ball though, it won’t matter all that much without a running game. Despite the team’s limited quarterback situation in 2012, Terrapins halfbacks still only racked up 103 yards per game (115th in the country). Can they expect better this spring, and into the fall? Odds are on Brandon Ross becoming an every-down back, and without Wes Brown taking carries from him over the next month, it’s really his job to lose.
As has been well-documented here, as well as everywhere else on the web, Maryland’s football team was terrible in 2011. Worse yet, they’ve already been terrible this offseason, and they still haven’t played an actual game. What was once a burgeoning quarterback controversy (and potentially exciting camp battle) quickly turned into a messy ordeal between head coach Randy Edsall and former starter Danny O’Brien — indirectly resulting in O’Brien’s departure to parts yet-to-be-determined. What we know now, however, is that rising junior C.J. Brown is now officially the man who carries all of Maryland’s hopes on his shoulders. The versatile thrower and passer had some impressive outings in 2011 (see: Clemson), but consistency was a struggle. For the pass game to improve from last year’s mediocre 75th overall (in the FBS), Brown has to put in the time with his receivers this spring. While he’ll surely have help, much of the onus will fall on rising senior receiver Kevin Dorsey, along with stud recruit Stefon Diggs. Like his quarterback, Dorsey struggled a bit with consistency throughout the year — missing two games, and then virtually disappearing from the stat sheet during the middle of the season. With a healthy running game (questionable, given the inexperienced backs vying for the starting job this year) and some marked improvement from Brown though, it’s conceivable the Terps score more than the meager 23.1 points per game they pulled together in 2011. Continue reading →