Through five games, Maryland’s longest run of the season has been 21 yards. The Terps are averaging 86 rushing yards per game, last in the ACC. Maryland is the only school in the conference not averaging more than 100 yards per game on the ground.
It begs the question. Are the tailbacks not getting holes to run through? Or are they getting holes and not locating them?
The Terps won’t feel like an Edsall team – at least in the way that Connecticut was – until they improve the running game and find a workhorse back.
Edsall was asked about the running game again Tuesday, and said the issues are shared between the backs and line.
Edsall said he needs to make sure the backs are “reading” the play. But he also said the offensive line is composed of two guys (Mike Madaras and Andrew Zeller) starting for the first time. Another guy (Justin Gilbert) is coming back from an injury last season. He said the center, Sal Conaboy, is still getting better “fundamentally.”
From my perspective in the press box, I’ve noted a number of plays where the tailbacks are swarmed at or behind the line and can't get the opportunity to get started. A number of Maryland plays begin with groans from the home fans when it’s clear the play isn’t developing into much.
“We’re going through some growing pains (on the line) with those guys playing together and meshing,” Edsall said. “We’re going to work to continue to be a physical team up front.”
The plan appears to be to give the bulk of the carries to Justus Pickett and Wes Brown. Edsall hinted at that Sunday, and did so again Tuesday. Pickett, Brown, Brandon Ross and Albert Reid all have carries.
Brown, who has the season-long 21-yard run, is the heaviest runner and appears to be the most difficult to bring down. But every back needs at least a hint of a daylight to get started.
Maryland’s offense overall is ranked last in the ACC in scoring (20.8 yards per game). The defense is ranked second (257.2 yards per game).
“We’ve got some moxie on defense. And that’s what we’ve got to play with on offense,” Edsall said.