COLLEGE PARK -- One of the deepest units on head coach Randy Edsall’s Maryland football team is also proving to be one of the most problematic of the preseason.
In a good way. Sort of.
Returning co-starters Brandon Ross and Albert Reid are battling with sophomores Jacquille Veii and Wes Brown in a game of backfield musical chairs that emerged in the early stages of training camp this past week.
“We’re not going to keep four guys happy. That ain’t gonna happen,” Edsall said before his team’s training camp practice session on Thursday.
“They’ve already been told there will be two guys that’ll be there. Third guy will be swing. Fourth and fifth guy, they’re going to have to make their name on special teams, so they know exactly what they got.”
Ross led the team in rushing last season with 776 yards on 166 carries, which was actually most closely complemented by the work of quarterback C.J. Brown on the ground with his 576 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Maryland’s rushing attack in 2013 ranked 96th out of 125 schools in FBS.
“It’s great competition out here, but we ain’t gonna keep four guys happy,” Edsall reiterated.
“We got to get it to two, then there’s a third. That’s all you can have up to practice. The other guys got to go down and, you know, they got to make their niche. They can get on special teams and play anywhere from 20 to 28 plays a game, so they know exactly what it is.”
Ross has struggled with fumbles through five days of camp, Edsall said, but the problems aren’t unique to only the Delaware native. Issues with maintaining assignments and pass protection have also showed themselves in the rest of the unit.
Brown is the wildcard of the bunch after missing the entire 2013 season due to suspension. He showed flashes of being a reliable D-I running back during his freshman season in 2012 when he finished with 382 yards on 90 carries and added two touchdowns.
“We’re looking for … those guys that can be consistent with everything they’re doing in terms of ball security, in terms of catching the ball, in terms of pass protection, in terms of their assignments,” Edsall said.
“So, you know, again, I think it’s too early to say this guy is sticking out or that guy is sticking out ...I think all of them are doing a good job. You can see there’s competition. They’re hungry. They want it,” he said, before returning to his mantra.
“But we ain’t keeping four guys happy, I’ll tell you that.”