Meggett Pushing Scott For Top Tailback Job

Maryland notebook

Maryland Notebook

Sophomore Has 'Improved Probably As Much As Anybody'

August 28, 2009|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,jeff.barker@baltsun.com

COLLEGE PARK - - Davin Meggett has virtually pulled even with Da'Rel Scott, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season, in the race to be Maryland's starting tailback, offensive coordinator James Franklin said Thursday night after the team's final preseason scrimmage.

Franklin's comments were surprising because Scott rushed for 1,133 yards last season and was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection.

It's not that Scott hasn't played well, but rather that Meggett, who had a solid freshman season with 457 rushing yards, has improved, according to Franklin.

"Meggett has improved probably as much as anybody," Franklin said. "I think we've got two No. 1 tailbacks, and we're going to use them as such."

Franklin said Scott and Meggett, the son of former NFL and Towson State player Dave Meggett, would both get lots of playing time with Gary Douglas as the No. 3 tailback.

Scott had four carries for 28 yards in Thursday's closed scrimmage. Meggett had four carries for 18 yards and three receptions for 23 yards.

In other scrimmage highlights, according to Maryland media relations:

* Torrey Smith returned a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown.

* Sophomore defensive back Anthony Green had a 71-yard interception return for a touchdown.

* Neither field-goal kicker missed. Nick Ferrara made all three of his attempts, and Mike Barbour was 2-for-2.

Terps at FedEx Field?

With FedEx Field beginning to host more college football games, a logical question is whether Maryland - a local draw - might play at the big stadium someday.

FedEx Field will host Indiana-Penn State and Virginia Tech-Boise State in 2010.

Maryland confirmed Thursday that it has considered the possibility of playing at FedEx, which seats about 40,000 more than Byrd Stadium's 51,500. Obviously, Maryland would need a marquee opponent.

"We have spoken with representatives from FedEx in the past, but nothing is currently on the radar," Randy Eaton, a Maryland senior associate athletic director, said in an e-mail response Thursday to Baltimore Sun questions.

How about Maryland-Penn State? The schools once played a popular series, although it was dominated by the Nittany Lions.

Eaton replied: "Since we are currently booked through and including 2013, we have not been actively seeking contracts with any institutions. We will most likely begin looking for future opponents at the conclusion of the upcoming season."

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen has said he wants to play Penn State, but the schools have been unable to agree on games. Maryland said last season that Penn State had proposed a deal in which the Nittany Lions would get two home games to Maryland's one.

Penn State athletics spokesman Jeff Nelson said at the time: "We have had discussions with Maryland about playing but have not asked for a two-for-one at any time in those discussions."

Penn State beat Maryland, 70-7, in 1993, the last time they played. Scheduling Maryland got more complicated after the Big Ten voted in 1990 to accept Penn State.

Traveling squad

The Terrapins are in a numbers game as they prepare for their opener Sept. 5 at California.

Friedgen said 72 players will travel to the game. Since about 120 players appeared on the roster when August camp opened, that means about four dozen team members won't travel.

The coach has been looking at a number of positions. Among them is cornerback. Set to travel are Nolan Carroll, Anthony Wiseman, Cameron Chism and Trenton Hughes. But the fifth cornerback slot remained uncertain late into preseason camp.

And Friedgen won't be able to take all his receivers.

"A lot of it will depend on who figures in on special teams," the coach said.

Smooth talkers

Not only is fifth-year quarterback Chris Turner a year wiser, but he has also had a complete season to get accustomed to Franklin and his system.

Franklin, who became the offensive coordinator before last season, will again be in the booth on game days talking to Turner on the headset.

Turner said their interactions went relatively smoothly last season - with one exception.

"There's a rule that we have: No yelling on the phone," Turner said. "But one time he got after me. Last year at Clemson, he yelled at me and I was like, 'All right, whatever,' " the quarterback said.

"But after the game I said, 'You broke the rule.' And he said: 'You're right. It won't happen again.' And it didn't."

Of course, Franklin can get emotional.

At halftime of last season's Cal game, Franklin yelled in delight and punched an erasable board used to diagram plays, sending it tumbling to the floor. Maryland was winning at the time, and Franklin couldn't help but loudly express his satisfaction that the offense had seemed to click.

Said Turner: "I guess halftime is a loophole" to the rule.

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