2015 Maryland Football: running backs preview


We continue our 2015 Maryland football previews with one of the most inconsistent position at times with the running backs.

The Terps had their fair share of dilemmas on the offensive side of the ball, but the running game never really seemed to get the ball rolling during the 2014 season. Brandon Ross and Wes Brown shared backfield duties and while Ross was the starter, quarterback C.J. Brown ended up leading the team in rush attempts. Maryland ranked 12th out of 14 teams in the Big Ten with 121.8 rushing yards per contest and only averaged 3.7 yards-per-carry.

It’s safe to say that the Terps need to turn things around, especially with a new signal caller under center. Let’s take a look at the tailbacks that will be toting the rock this season.

Brandon Ross – Since his freshman season, Ross has seen the field with regularity for Maryland. Over the course of his three-year Maryland career, Ross has been very impressive as a whole. The Delaware native has averaged 4.7 yards-per-carry with nine career touchdowns. Ross is a very elusive running back that thrives on hitting the hole hard and getting into the open field. Once in the open field, the senior halfback can absorb contact and make the type of highlight reel plays that a team expects their running back to make. East-and-west runners like Ross often can have trouble when opposing teams seal off the edge and force the back to run the ball straight into the teeth of the defense.

Ross’ best year came in 2013 as the featured back when Brown was suspended for the duration of the season. The Maryland tailback carried the ball 166 times for 776 yards and four touchdowns. The 166 carries were nearly double what Ross turned in last season when he only had 85 rushing attempts (he also had 85 rushes as a freshman). It’s clear that Ross is more than capable of being the lead back and has exceled in that role. In Saturday’s open scrimmage, Ross rushed eight times for 80 yards and by all accounts, looks to be making the right cuts. In 2015, Ross looks like he’s going to be “the guy” for the Terps and the team will certainly need to rely on Ross if the quarterback play is inconsistent.

Wes Brown – Brown has had the definition of an up-and-down career during his time in College Park. Brown carried the ball 90 times for 382 yards and a pair of touchdowns as a freshman before missing the last three games with ankle and shoulder injuries. After being looked at as one of the building blocks of the offense, Brown’s 2013 campaign was lost due to a season-long suspension for an off-the-field issue. In his return to the program in 2014, Brown began the season with back-to-back games where he accumulated double-digit carries. After totaling 26 rushing attempts against James Madison and South Florida, Brown only reached double-digit carries three more times the rest of the season. Aside from the season opener, the Baltimore native never topped the 50-yard mark in 2015.

More from Maryland Football

Brown is a very different running back than Ross. The former Good Counsel star isn’t quite as quick, but definitely packs a thunderous punch. Brown is a very physical player that thrives on contact. This is the type of player that oftentimes takes multiple defenders to help bring him to the turf. In 2013, Brown actually exceled at finding open running lanes, including a 19-yard touchdown run against Connecticut early in the season. Brown is the perfect compliment to a guy like Ross. Ross is a back that makes his living on big plays while Brown is a bruiser that makes his living on short yardage situations. If Maryland stays consistent with the running game, Brown should get several opportunities at the goal line while Ross should be carrying the ball between the 20s. If the Terps can stick to this type of philosophy, guys like Joe Riddle and Ty Johnson probably won’t see the field too much in 2015.

Kenneth Goins Jr. – Fullback has been a very consistent position for Maryland the past two seasons. Kenneth Goins Jr. hasn’t touched the ball a ton, but has displayed great blocking ability in paving the way for the Maryland running backs. In 2013, Goins showed off his good hands when he caught his first career touchdown against Old Dominion. In 2014, the Gilman product caught another touchdown pass against James Madison. Goins is a very capable fullback that continues to provide great stability to the Maryland offense and is an extremely underrated piece.

More from Terrapin Station