COLLEGE PARK, MD -- Brandon Ross is the Terps leading returning running back and speed guy.
Wes Brown is their most decorated, a former four-star, Under Armour All-American.
And Jacquille Veii has some shake, some make-you-miss ability none of the other Terps' backs possess.
But the one running back Maryland head coach Randy Edsall permitted to be interviewed this week was none of the above. It was junior plugger Albert Reid, who three years in is still trying to carve his niche among the Terps top backs.
Reid, mostly known as Maryland's short yardage and red-zone back, one that's best between the tackles but not ripping long ones outside, has emerged at camp this month a more explosive and all-around back -- and one clawing for one of the top two spots. And Edsall loves him.
Reid is on the Terrapin Council player leadership committee, and Aug. 7 he met with the media despite the fact observers have mostly noted Ross running with the "ones" this week. Edsall said Aug. 7 that only the top two backs will be in the regular rotation, while the others will have to help with special teams, scout team looks, and the like.
Edsall is a big Reid fan both on and off the field. Reid is also the Terps best ball-security back.
"Albert is another one of those guys who gives you everything that he's got all the time," Edsall said. "He's a guy that's got a smile on his face, he competes hard. Again, all the qualities that you look for in a student-athlete he embraces and he embodies. And I just love the way he competes. He's tough, he's hard-nosed, he's a team guy.
"But know this, every day you come out here you are going to get his best effort. He's going to do everything that he can to not only make himself better, but to push other guys to make them better."
Said Reid on Aug. 7, looking a tad leaner and quicker at 207 pounds this camp:
"I'm not sure where I am in the mix with the running backs now, we just come out here everyday and compete. Hopefully things will work out, but I am just out here competing with my teammates and being a good teammate and encouraging them just as much as they are encouraging me," Reid said.
Reid, who came to UMD a tad pudgy and thick through the legs, said he spent the summer toning his body but not losing any strength.
While Ross -- who led the team with 776 rushing yards last year -- and Brown -- who is back from a year hiatus and is rearing to go -- have better speed and breakaway ability, Reid said he also worked on his speed, staying low, while working on his reads as well.
"You can't win if you don't stay low," Reid said.
Reid said the Terps' backfield is full "of great backs. And we all get excited for each other. But it's the game of football, and you are going to compete with somebody because it's going to be a spot where only one person can be on that field at that time," Reid said.
Reid may be a between-the-tackles guy, but he said he wants to be more of an every-down back now, with improved hands out of the backfield and better blocking ability especially. This week in camp he has been seen bouncing more runs outside, winning the edge with a little more burst than in the past.
"It's working on my technique and shuffling and not crossing over," Reid said of improved footwork and blocking. "Coach [Andre] Powell is a great teacher at that, focusing on staying low, shuffle your feet, don't cross over. And as I saw today, the more I shuffled my feet the more I won. So you got to be a technician out here."
Reid is the Terps third-leading returning rusher a year ago, at 294 yards and two touchdowns. He said the offense has a "great vibe" about it and "we are more of a family right now. We are enthusiastic and up."
Reid hopes to crack that top two, while Ross and Brown have had their flashes as well. Jacquille Veii, though trying to get more physical and improve as a blocker, brings something no other back has with his East-West ability. Reid and Veii are actually roommates and he often encourages the youngster. Reid said Veii has matured as both a player and a person, while Brown, who missed last year under suspension, "is a lot more focused now. He knows what it feels like to have something taken away from him."
As for the battle for the feature back spot, Reid said:
"It can go either way. You can have roles or you can have 'that guy.' Everyone is working to be 'that guy.'"
Of all the Friendship Collegiate Academy (Washington, D.C.) alums on the Terps' roster now, including talented freshman offensive tackle Derwin Gray, Reid said:
"It's fun. it's good to see a lot of guys coming from Friendship now because it's becoming a powerhouse. Coach [Abdul-Aazzaar] Rahim did a great job, now Coach [Mike] Hunter...they have done a great job keeping it going," Reid said. "And I have watched one-on-one pass drills, O-line and D-line, and he [Derwin] looks pretty good. He impressed me, and I just can't wait to see him in the game."
Finally, more than a few have called Reid a "grinder" type back over the years, so he can't wait to do just that in the Big Ten starting next month.
"I love that style. Running backs want to pound the ball in there, right? That's what they want to do," Reid said.
Junior Reid Working to Become Complete Back
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