Pickett, Ross Battling For Top Tailback Spot in Maryland Spring Practice

April 10, 2012 | WNST Staff

Maryland held its 10th practice of the spring Tuesday afternoon

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland has just five spring sessions left after completing its 10th practice Tuesday afternoon.

It was the team’s first workout since holding its first of three scrimmages on Saturday.

Head coach Randy Edsall was relatively pleased with what he saw from both sides of the ball during the 100-play scrimmage.

“Defensively, we did some good things in the scrimmage,” Edsall said after Tuesday’s practice. “Offensively, there were not as many highlights as we had out here today.”

But Edsall was not nearly as pleased with the defense following Tuesday’s practice, but he will use that as a teaching tool.

“The defense stunk today,” Edsall said. “They just absolutely stunk. Now you get a chance to go and tell them they need to come out here with the right mind set all the time.”

With play installation complete on both offense and defense, the Terps are looking at fine-tuning over the last two weeks of the spring.

After 40 minutes of individual drills to open practice, they concentrated on third-down situations with the offense hitting on a number of big plays.

C.J.Brown hit on a pair of long throws at the start of the third-down periods, connecting with Matt Furstenburg on a 25-yard gain and then Marcus Leak on a 55-yard touchdown.

Justus Pickett had some nice plays during practice. He scored on both of the offense’s attempts in the goal-line period and had a nifty 40-yard catch and run in the first third-down period.

Pickett is in battle with redshirt freshman Brandon Ross for the No. 1 tailback spot.

“That’s been a good battle,” Edsall said. “They’ve been switching off with the [first team]. Brandon is running real tough and Justus has been running very strong – I thought he really hit some things out there in the short-yardage today and was a little bit more powerful today. They know that they’re competing and they’re competing for repetitions and that’s good. That’s what you want. You want to have that kind of competition at every position.”

Edsall thought the passing game was about as good as it has been this spring.

“That’s the most success we’ve had this spring,” Edsall said. “We wanted to try to do a little bit more of it because we thought the defense was sitting on some routes so that was good to see. And [it was good to see] the ball being thrown where it’s supposed to be and it also teaches the defense to make sure that they play straight up and don’t anticipate too much.”

The defense did make some plays in the third down periods with Matt Robinson picking off a Brown pass deep over the middle and A.J.Hendy breaking up a Ricky Schultz pass attempt to Devin Burns.

The Terps have lost some players to injury (Joe Vellano) and academics (Darin Drakeford) for the remainder of spring practice in recent days, but Edsall is not concerned with the regular season still close to five months away.

“I don’t worry about that so much,” Edsall said. “You’re not looking to have your final product by April 21, so I’m thankful that it gives some other guys reps and that those guys aren’t seriously injured.”

The Terps will practice again on Thursday and hold their second scrimmage Saturday. The Red-White Spring game is set for Saturday, April 21 (1 p.m. kickoff).

– Terps –