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The Game's OTHER Backs

Eric's story on Jahvid Best in today's paper shines some light on one of the country's most dynamic players, one who wasn't all that well-known (at least in this part of the country) entering the season.

But one of the six players in the country averaging more yards per game than Best will be on the opposite sideline on Saturday: Maryland's Da'Rel Scott (Scott is averaging 160 yards per game; Best, 155.5). Scott's fast start to the season has been mostly eclipsed by last week's loss in Murfreesboro. If the Terps are to rebound this week, Scott will be a key, as the best way to slow down any high-powered offense will be to keep it off the field.

In its season opener against Michigan State, Cal held the heralded Javon Ringer to 81 yards in the 38-31 victory. But Golden Bears linebacker Zack Follett tells the San Jose Mercury News that Scott presents his own set of problems.

"(Scott) is a great back," Follett said. "He has the quickness to make you miss, the power to run you over and once he gets into the open field, he can be gone. We have to take this running back for real. I think he might be one of the best ones we face."

Back to Cal for a moment: A great deal of Best's success might be attributable to senior fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou, as this San Francisco Chronicle story points out. Ta'ufo'ou created holes for Justin Forsett last season the same way he's done for Best this fall.

So for all the talk this week about defensive breakdowns and quarterback play, the key to Saturday's game might be which team can run most effectively, thus keeping the opponent's back off the field.

Check back this morning for more from Eric's conversations with Maryland's defensive players about how the loss to Middle Tennessee has affected them since.

By Matthew Rennie  |  September 11, 2008; 8:24 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Bet if Cal were trailing MTSU they would have still given the ball to Best over and over. Somehow it just amazes me that Fridge and Franklin couldn't figure out that by giving the ball to Scott and Meggett, they not only would have kept MTSU's offense off the field but would have worn their defense down by late in the third quarter. One of the worst coaching/play calling jobs I have seen in a long time at Maryland and that's saying something.

Posted by: virtueandvice | September 11, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

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