Chick Hernandez one-on-one with Randy Edsall
Maryland head coach Randy Edsall broke the good news to quarterback C.J. Brown before Tuesday's practice: the NCAA granted the injured quarterback a sixth-year of eligibility.
Reporters informed Brown that despite missing last season with a knee injury that will keep him out of Friday's annual Red/White Spring Game, Edsall still considers him the team's starting quarterback.
That's the role Brown had last August when during practice he tore his anterior cruciate ligament, becoming the first of three Maryland passers to suffer a season-ending knee injury. He also broke his collarbone during the 2010 season opener. The 6-foot-3 passer threw for 842 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011 while rushing for 574 yards and five scores.
With the extra year of eligibility, Brown can play in 2013 and 2014, the year Maryland begins competing in the Big Ten. Both the player and coach anticipated the good news, just maybe not so soon, since the paperwork was submitted less than three weeks ago.
"I wasn't expecting it this quick," said the all-smiles Brown, who has participated in 7-on-7 drills for the past three weeks. "[Edsall] came into our quarterback meeting and he pulled me out, gave me the congratulations and said, 'yep, sixth year. You're going to be here again'...I'm happy."
Though he won't have the mobile quarterback for Friday's inter-squad game -- junior Ricardo Young will serve as the primary quarterback --, Edsall is happy with Brown's improvement.
"I think he's made a ton of progress from the first day he came out and did 7-on-7," Edsall said following practice. "He was very tentative. He wasn't driving off that back leg. Today you could its night and day. Now he's got that confidence back...I see big improvement."
"I feel really good with my knee and where everything stands right now," Brown said. I'm excited to get back out here. This spring has treated me very well. I'm just excited to be back out here, compete and doing 7-on-7's and just getting acclimated with my mind and my body. I've been out here taking the mental reps for so long it feels good to take the physical ones."
"That improvement combined with his experience and past production has Edsall already declaring Brown his starter come the summer and fall.
"That just shows he has great confidence in me," said Brown upon hearing this other piece of news. "I'm working my tail off on the field, off the field, trying to be a leader. I want to do what's best for this team. I'm going to put my heart and soul into it. For him to say that, that's an honor for me. I'm privileged and I'm not going to let him down."
*Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic will present a one-hour special, Red/White Spring Game, on Saturday, April 13, at 5 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 14, at 7 p.m. The annual Red/White Spring Game takes place on Friday, April 12, at 7 p.m. at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.
*No injuries occurred during the two-hour, full pads practice, though running back Wes Brown (ankle) did not participate. Edsall announced that long snapper Christian Carpenter suffered a torn ACL during practice last week. Tight end Dave Stinebaugh (ankle) participated in practice, but said the projected senior starter is uncertain for Friday. The coach himself wore a knee brace after getting run into by linebacker Abner Logan during a drill last week.
*Young's quarterbacking journey began as an All-Met selection at the District's H.D. Woodson with stops at Virginia Tech and New Mexico before landing in College Park. His journey into Maryland's starting lineup was much simpler. Because so many signal callers went down with injuries in 2012, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder junior went from sitting out last season to sitting atop the Terps' depth chart this offseason.
"He's an athletic mobile quarterback," Brown said of Young. "He's got a good arm. Has good command of the offense. It should be an exciting show on Friday."
Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe continue rehabbing from their respective knee injuries. Redshirt sophomore Dustin Dailey is the only other quarterback expected to throw during the spring game.
*Stefon Diggs provided the Terps with a big play element as a receiver and return specialist during his dynamic freshman season, finishing with a combined eight touchdowns. Edsall has every intention on maximizing the former Good Counsel star's opportunities, but that could mean having Diggs focus more on his receiving skills and less in the return game.
"We want to make we utilize him the best way we can," Edsall said of Diggs, "but also know we have other guys. We'll see how he goes as a punt returner."
Edsall said freshman defensive back Will Likely has "impressed" in the return game.
*Maryland's initial depth chart released in early March included three overt starting lineup battles. With Matt Robinson transitioning into a linebacker role, junior A.J. Hendy and sophomore Sean Davis are dueling for the vacated safety slot.
“That’s been really good competition. Both of them have had their moments this spring,' Edsall said. "That’s not something that’s going to be decided until fall camp, for sure. The good thing is both of them have skills and abilities to be able to help us...It probably won’t be definitive until we get to games.”
Davis had 13 tackles and a fumble recovery in 12 games last season.