The contact came before the line of scrimmage as Maryland worked during a goal-line session Saturday night.
It didn't matter to Davin Meggett.
He writhed. He nudged. And his legs kept moving toward whatever space he could find. By the time it was over, he'd moved the pile enough to pick up three yards.
"Helluva run," offensive coordinator James Franklin bellowed as he ran in to congratulate Meggett. "That was a helluva run."
It wasn't the only one. Moments later, Meggett took a pitch and barreled over linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield to score one of his two touchdowns in the goal-line work. It was more than a hint Meggett intends to be a serious factor in Maryland's backfield this season.
Sure, Da'Rel Scott has a 1,000-yard season to his name. And D.J. Adams is the bruising sort just about designed to earn a tough yards.
But Meggett looks revitalized as a junior after struggling to gain just 3.4 yards a carry last season.
"I think a little of it is his maturity," coach Ralph Friedgen said. "I think he's a lot more confident than what he's been. I think he's a lot more flexible. He's always been a strong kid. The thing I started see him doing in spring practice, I don't think he ever read things well [before]. I don't think he played with his eyes. I think he kind of predetermined cuts. He's not doing that anymore."
Meggett earned considerable time from his first day on campus, securing the No. 2 spot in the backfield as a true freshman. He ran for 457 yards and four touchdowns, while also collecting a memorable 31-yard reception during a game-winning drive against N.C. State.
But things were different last year. Perhaps it was a struggling offensive line, or a more high-profile role when Scott missed five games with a broken forearm.
Maybe it was a whole bunch of things. But Meggett dipped to 338 yards despite receiving 10 extra carries.
"I don't necessarily know what it was last year, but I said 'Personally, I love you, but I wasn't seeing the same person,'" wide receiver Kevin Dorsey said. "He came out in spring and was running hard. I always say he runs with three legs, using his hand as a third leg. Sometimes you're saying there's no way this guy should be up right now, but he'll spin, twist and he'll fight for the extra yard, and that's the Meggett I knew. It's nice to see him coming back."
And that's how Meggett figures to remain a significant part of Maryland's offense.
He's a hybrid back, bringing doses of both speed and power though perhaps not extreme degrees of either. But if his field vision is better, that could be an ideal combination for the Terrapins.
"He runs harder, he runs smarter and he's gotten even faster," guard Andrew Gonnella said.
Not to mention more firm in his on-field choices.
Meggett encountered problems last year spending extra time trying to find what hole --- if one even existed --- to try to rumble through. He averaged four yards a carry in only four games, and his longest run of the year was just 13 yards.
Judging from yesterday, Meggett isn't pausing mentally to size up the situation any longer.
"He runs 4.4 or better," Friedgen said. "He's a compact guy and he can run and he has some acceleration. The thing I like about him is he's sticking his foot in the ground and going north-south. He's being decisive. If he makes the wrong cut, he's going full speed and he's going to make somebody pay for it, where in the past I think he's always been indecisive. 'Did I make the right cut? Is this that?' You can't do that. You have to be decisive, make a move and go to it. That's what he's doing a much better job of."
It figures to provide a jolt to Maryland's backfield, where Meggett has functioned as a de facto goal line back for the last two years. Even with Adams around, the revitalized Meggett figures to receive his share of chances to score throughout the season.
"That's what we need," Dorsey said. "We need that guy who will push for that extra yard. You got D.J, he's the power back, and you've got Da'Rel, he's the fast and quick guy. Everybody's talking about thunder and lightning. I don't even know what the third element is, but we've got three."