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Patriots go into hurry-up offense

Draft picks Maroney, Jackson promise to elevate team speed

FOXBOROUGH -- Laurence Maroney usually follows orders and runs plays as they were drawn up.

Behind the zone blocking in Minnesota coach Glen Mason's attack, Maroney became the third running back in Big Ten history to rush for 1,000 yards in his first three seasons.

Maroney recalls once not doing what his coach had drummed into his head daily in practice: pick a hole and hit it.

His gamble came from the 7-yard line; 93 yards later, he was in the end zone.

''I just said, 'I'm just going to cut back and see what happens,' " Maroney said. '' 'If he yells at me, he yells at me.' "

Maroney, who was at Gillette Stadium yesterday for the annual jersey presentation to the Patriots' No. 1 pick, will find that Bill Belichick reads from the same coaching manual as Mason, so the style of running that served him so well in college should fit perfectly with what the Patriots want to do.

And with 4.3-second speed (in the 40-yard dash), Maroney certainly has an aggressive, attacking approach to the running game.

''I feel like I can break from anywhere on the field given the right situation," Maroney said. ''Every time I get the football, I'm trying to score. Hurry up and get off the field."

The Patriots increased their team speed over the weekend with the addition of Maroney, the 21st pick of the draft, and Florida receiver Chad Jackson, a second-round pick taken No. 36 overall.

Jackson, who joined Maroney at the stadium and received a Patriots winter jacket from owner Robert Kraft, has run a 4.29 40. His average of 10.2 yards per catch last season is not indicative of how he can stretch the field. Because he was the team's best wideout, he was put inside to be the top target (88 catches for 900 yards) in the Gators' short passing attack.

''I played the inside receiver, the inside slot, and that was kind of difficult for me," Jackson said. ''It was something that I had to adjust to because it felt like I was the only guy with enough speed and enough size to go in there and run the inside routes with the linebacker.

''I'm more of an outside receiver. I like to go deep and use my speed, come across the middle and make big plays."

Jackson had a feeling he would be trying to make plays for the Patriots, though he thought the team might draft him in the first round.

''When the clock started [before the Patriots' first pick], I was just waiting on the phone call," Jackson said. ''I said, 'They're going to call me. They're going to call me. They're going to call me.' But it didn't turn out that way.

''But they got me in the second round, and I like that phone call better because they said, 'We're going to trade up and hurry up and get you. We're going to get you.' I said, 'OK, that's cool. I can handle that, so I can get some of the stress off of me.' It ended up working out well."

Jackson, who topped all receivers at the NFL combine in the 40, has already aced his first test with the Patriots. When he met with Belichick in Florida in March, the coach gave Jackson a homework assignment, and told him he would see how much recall he had when the two met a couple of weeks later.

''It was crazy at first because I didn't expect that to happen," Jackson said. ''When I took that test home, I made sure I studied all that night and everyday until I had the next meeting with him to make sure I knew it because I didn't want to go out there and mess up. When I did it, I did it pretty good though."

The next challenge for the two rookies, who were in town for only one day, is a rookie minicamp May 13-14.

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