COLLEGE PARK — For years the scouting report on Maryland's lacrosse team has been the same: great defense, but very little offense because of a lack of dynamic scorers.
Colin Heacock could be changing that perception.
The junior attackman from Boys' Latin has scored 14 goals and added one assist for the No. 6 Terps (4-2). He's combining with fellow attackman Matt Rambo (10 goals, 6 assists), to give Maryland its best 1-2 punch in recent years.
"So far, I think it's worked out fairly well," Maryland coach John Tillman said of his attack, which also includes junior Dylan Maltz. "We'll continue to monitor it, but I think Colin's done a good job. He and Matt work well together and same thing with Dylan. I think they have pretty good chemistry."
Another person who has been monitoring the Terps offense is North Carolina coach Joe Breschi, whose Tar Heels (5-3) play the Terps Saturday in Maryland Stadium.
North Carolina has great athletes on defense and the Tar Heels can cause confusion with their multiple looks. North Carolina is allowing nine goals a game, but one thing they can't allow is Heacock to score often.
"Colin is a very skilled player with excellent athleticism and size with the ability to feed, create and distribute if necessary," Breschi said. "He's become a very key ingredient to Maryland's offense and his lacrosse IQ is exceptional."
Heacock's success is somewhat the product of a gamble made by his coach. He started the first two games at midfield this season and scored five goals. In the last three games at attack, he has contributed nine goals.
During his first two seasons in College Park, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Heacock split playing time in the midfield and attack even though he was a star attackman in high school.
Heacock had five goals and four assists as a freshman, and scored 18 goals in 19 games last season.
After an 8-5 loss to Yale in Game 2 this season, Tillman needed more juice in the offense.
"I think the big thing with Colin, we just felt like having his presence down there, his experience," Tillman said. "Certainly, he's a very talented athlete and if he's on the field more, we just felt like that would help us more."
It has worked because Heacock is athletic and versatile. As an attackman, he can play on either the left or right side, or dodge from behind goal. He is big enough to back in defenders and fast enough to run around them.
"At the end of last year, I was starting to play more attack, but the big thing is that you have to trust your coaches," Heacock said. "We communicate with them all the time and they know what is best for the team. As a player, you have to do whatever is best, regardless of your role.
"I think we're all getting more comfortable with each other to the point where everything is starting to become second nature."
Gone are the days at midfield where the dodges are long and it's more of a two-man game. Heacock is back to quick stops and starts, changing his stick hand frequently and making short, dart-like passes.
And of course, he is a finisher, evidenced by his14 goals.
"I live with Rambo, so we're always talking on and off the field about lacrosse and what we would do in certain situations," Heacock said. "He and Maltz have really helped me and I think we're only going to get better because the season is still young."
Heacock is a model for unselfishness. He is the outgoing, helpful type who spends a lot of time after practice working with the younger players.
He openly talks about being a role model and wanting younger kids to look up to him.
"He is a junior and kind of feeling like more of a leader on this team," Tillman said. "We've tried to emphasize that to him. I think freshman year is always tough on my young guys. Last year, I think he got more playing tine and now I think he sees himself more as a leader."