Meggett continues to impress
As Davin Meggett headed for the end zone down the right sideline, he caught safety Jeff Allen out of the corner of his eye. Then cornerback Anthony Wiseman, a former track star, started to gain on him.
"I said ‘Oh, no.' That's why I dove because I didn't think I was going to make it anyways," Meggett said. "I was just running away from people. I just didn't want to get caught because I wouldn't hear the end of it."
His dive towards the pylon, initially ruled a touchdown, was reviewed—yes, a video review system was in place for Saturday's scrimmage—and overturned. He came up a yard short on his 74-yard scamper, but punched it in on the very next play.
Meggett had 12 carries for 157 yards and two touchdowns—the other a 49-yard run. In two scrimmages so far, the freshman running back has 230 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries.
With presumed No. 2 back Morgan Green hampered by a quad injury and unable to participate fully the past week—including missing yesterday's scrimmage—Meggett is "solidly in second place," coach Ralph Friedgen said. "He maybe pushing for first."
While it seems unlikely Meggett supplants starting running back Da'Rel Scott, Meggett's ascent up the depth chart continues to be the story of camp.
"The concern I had was we had too many long runs against our defense. We can't have that," Friedgen said. "On the other hand I though Davin Meggett, for his second scrimmage, had a hell of a scrimmage. I thought he ran harder, he wasn't as cautious as he's been and he showed what kind of speed he has once he gets out in the open.
"He just works hard. He's way beyond where he should be at this point. Of all the offense we have in and all the protections we have, he still makes mistakes there, but that's probably understandable."
Meggett, who maintains he still makes plenty of mistakes, said he cut his missed assignments in half this scrimmage. After the first scrimmage he estimated he had 11 on 13 carries. Fixing those, Meggett said, will come in time as he becomes more familiar with the playbook and gains experience.
To be as far along as he is now is a testament to Meggett's work over the summer, when he immersed himself in the playbook and made frequent trips to College Park.
"I was talking to him about the plays and everything and he kind of knew what he was talking about and I was really surprised at first," Scott said. "He was coming here a lot when he didn't have to so that showed me that he wanted to play."
Meggett will certainly get that chance. He gives Maryland a durable second option, similar to what Green would bring if healthy. But Meggett's size—5 foot 8, 215 pounds—adds another dimension to his game.
"That's actually one of my worst running backs [to tackle]," linebacker Moise Fokou said. "I hate those small, compact ones. You tackle too high, they're just going dip under your arms. You go too low, they might just run you over."
On Saturday, the defense didn't have to decide how to tackle Meggett. He burst through the defensive line nearly untouched on his two long runs and pulled away from the secondary with his deceptive speed.
"Kid's good, man," quarterback Chris Turner said. "He's only a freshman, it's his second week of camp and he's already doing a good job. Since I've been here I don't think I've seen a freshman running back do as well as he has."
Tate gets in the mix
While freshman Kenny Tate learns the nuances of playing strong safety, he will have an important role on special teams this season.
In yesterday's scrimmage, he averaged 21.7 yards on three kickoff returns, including a 32-yarder. At 6 foot 4, 215 pounds, Tate is difficult to wrap up, and though he doesn't have top-end speed, he is plenty elusive.
"He does it so naturally," Friedgen said. "He's a very smart player, too."
On defense, Tate appears to be the frontrunner for the No. 2 spot behind Jeff Allen. Friedgen said he's coming along well.
"He was with our first team defense the other day and James comes out with some screwy formation and he made the right check and got everybody lined up. For a freshman to do that is pretty impressive," Friedgen said. "He's making strides, I got to see how well he tackled—he's got to become a better tackler. It's not because he doesn't hit people, he's got to wrap up better."
Left tackle Scott Burley (neck) and left guard Jaimie Thomas (shoulder) were held out of Saturday's scrimmage for precautionary reasons, Friedgen said. Sophomore Bruce Campbell (left tackle) and redshirt freshman Lamar Young (left guard) started in their places…
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Friedgen hopes to get defensive tackle Dean Muhtadi (shoulder) back early next week.
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