It’s been an up-and-down career for Wes Brown to say the least.
On Saturday, the Maryland running back will return to a very crowded backfield. Brown hasn’t taken the field yet in 2016 due to a three-game suspension that the coaching staff honored from the previous administration.
In Maryland’s depth chart for Purdue, Brown was listed as a backup behind co-starters Trey Edmunds, Kenneth Goins Jr., and Ty Johnson.
But what exactly are the Terrapins getting in the return of Brown?
“Another really good player,” offensive coordinator Walt Bell said. “Not only will he be a great contributor at tailback, but we’ve got a great rotation right now. Also, if you look at that room, that may be our fifth or sixth best special teams players as well.”
Brown is coming off a season in which he carried the ball 71 times for 317 yards (4.5 yards-per-carry) and three touchdowns. His best game came against Richmond when he rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown.
The former Good Counsel (Md.) standout also carried the ball 12 times for 52 yards against Michigan State.
Brown participated in fall camp and just hasn’t appeared in a game this season. He’s been practicing in Maryland’s rotation and has gotten a ton of reps over the last month.
“Your biggest fear as a coach is when you’ve got a kid that needs to take extended time of because when he comes back, two things happen,” Bell said. “Number one, every time he touches it, he tries to hit a homerun and score and he’ll lose his patience. Number two, you’re worried about extended layoff.”
“Interestingly enough, no, his role hasn’t’ changed,” Bell said. “We’ve been practicing every day, he hasn’t had a day off. He’s been with us every second, every meeting, so hopefully we’ll be able to prevent some of those things that you’re worried about.”
Brown has also seen time on special teams, which will get him ample playing time even when he’s not in the backfield. He did record four solo tackles in 10 games during the 2015 season.
“They’re all contributing on special teams, they’re all playing a lot of volume even though their carries may not show it,” Bell added. “They’re playing lots of plays in a lot of different phases, and just to add another big long strong athlete to the room, whether it be at running back or special teams, will definitely be beneficial to the football team.”
It’ll really be interesting to see how many touches Brown gets against the Boilermakers. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise for four or five different players to carry the ball.
It could come down to how much Maryland wants to use Lorenzo Harrison or if they just want to use this as a redshirt year.
One thing is definitely for sure: Maryland is adding another talented back to an already talented position.