Terps develop wealth of depth at running back

— The natural hope for any coach is to have one running back emerge from the group and become that one primary ball carrier that can do everything sought from the position.

But while junior Brandon Ross won Maryland's starting job, junior Albert Reid and sophomore Wes Brown both did enough during preseason camp that Terps coach Edsall expects them to see playing time as well.

"It's a situation where I think you'll see all three guys," Edsall said.

Ross is the lead guy.

He has been Maryland's primary runner the last two years when healthy, ran for 776 yards last season and is an all-purpose-type back that coaches described as the most consistent of the group throughout preseason practice.

Ross has decent size (5-foot-10, 205 pounds), is a decent athlete and, according to coaches, made the least mental errors of any of the running backs during camp. He is also the most reliable running back in pass protection, according to running backs coach Andre Powell.

But the team believes Reid and Brown can help the offense as well.

"They all can [be] the starting running back," inside linebacker L.A. Goree said, "and I think that puts us in a very comfortable position at that particular position."

Reid is a hard-nosed, power-type back at 5-foot-10, 210 pounds that teammates praise for his work ethic as well as his desire to pick up extra yards after contact.

Brown is kind of the wild-card.

He is probably the most physically gifted of the group and had some standout runs during preseason practice, like a 27-yard run during one of Maryland's scrimmages during which he broke multiple tackles and avoided another defender with a spin move.

Brown is big (6-foot, 215 pounds). He is physical. He consistently broke tackles during preseason camp, and he also moves well for someone his size. The problem is that he has had some rust to shake off after he was suspended and out of action last season.

But after putting on around 10 pounds of bad weight during his time away, Brown trimmed up for spring practice, got into even better shape for the summer and, to Edsall, made progress throughout preseason practice.

"He's getting better," Edsall said. "You can see it. You can see he's starting to feel a little bit more comfortable. He'll play. How much? Where? That's still to be determined. But I do like the growth and the maturity that I've seen out of him since he's been back. I like the focus.

"You could see that he was away from it. But now he's back, and he's gotten better throughout preseason, and that's what we wanted to see."

NOTES: Edsall declined to say whether wide receiver Levern Jacobs and inside linebacker Alex Twine will face any discipline after both were charged with second-degree assault last week. "It's one of those situations where I really can't talk about it," Edsall said. "We are still in the process of gathering all the information. And as soon as there is something for me to say based on that situation, we'll get that information out." … Guard Evan Mulrooney remains sidelined after dealing with a viral infection earlier this month, but Edsall said Mulrooney is getting better and could return to football "at some point in time" barring any setbacks. Edsall said Mulrooney has progressed to the point that he has been lifting weights and running on the treadmill. … Two Maryland players have brothers on James Madison, the Terps' opponent Saturday. Quarterback C.J. Brown's brother, Jordan, is a redshirt freshman defensive back. Freshman cornerback Daniel Ezeagwu's twin brother, David, is a backup linebacker.

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