Terps' Ball, Green have spring in step

College Football

April 26, 2007|By Heather A. Dinich | Heather A. Dinich,Sun Reporter

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland senior running back Lance Ball has become accustomed to pain - not his own, but that of his teammates.

It seems like every year, Ball said, the linemen blocking for him and his fellow tailbacks have suffered injuries that have either limited their spring workouts or kept them out of practices entirely. This spring, Ball was the lone unscathed tailback among the top three on the depth chart.

"It's a little more reps for me," said Ball, who led the Terps in rushing the previous two seasons and again this spring. "It's a little more work. Nothing really new. Basically, I'm used to it. It's a normal thing."

Keon Lattimore, the No. 2 running back on the depth chart, has been out all spring with a back injury, along with Da'Rel Scott, the No. 3 back who was carted off the field earlier this month with a left-knee injury.

In their absence, redshirt freshman Morgan Green has made a name for himself and actually received the most carries in the three scrimmages leading up to Saturday's Red-White spring game at 3:30 p.m. at Byrd Stadium.

"He's getting the ball a lot because I don't have a lot of backs," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "I don't have a choice. He's got to get better. He's got an opportunity. He's got to take advantage of it."

Green led the Terps with 58 carries and five touchdowns in the past three scrimmages, and he also caught a 62-yard screen pass from backup quarterback Josh Portis.

"It's kind of bittersweet," said Green, a graduate of Lackey High School who spent the 2005 season at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. "I wish the best for Da'Rel and Keon. I hope they get back healthy, but at the same time, I know I have a job to do."

The lack of depth in the backfield this spring forced Friedgen to move Steve Pfister (Mount St. Joseph) from linebacker to fullback and redshirt freshman Pha'Terrell Washington from defensive back to tailback.

Starting fullback Cory Jackson, who quickly made a name for himself last year as a true freshman at the expense of injured starter Tim Cesa, is now passing advice to Pfister, his roommate.

"At first, it was a little rough," said Pfister, who joined the team as a walk-on in 2005 and is now listed as the Terps' No. 2 fullback. "But Cory and I went over some stuff in the room before practice, and now I'm picking it up pretty quick. We're definitely a lot more shallow than when we started, but it's given a lot of people some chances, including me."

Still, the top returning back is Ball, who has started 14 of the past 16 games and dropped about 13 pounds since the end of last season.

"I think I've been playing pretty good," said Ball, who broke free for a 95-yard touchdown run in one of the scrimmages this spring. "I just feel a little bit quicker. I'm looking forward to my last year and going out with a bang."

heather.dinich@baltsun.com

Read Heather A. Dinich's new blog, Tracking the Terps, at baltimoresun.com/terpsblog.

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