Terps look forward to new season with healthy QBs
Just six minutes and 31 seconds into his season-opening press conference at Maryland football media day, head coach Randy Edsall left no doubt as to who would start behind center for the Terps in 2013.
"C.J. [Brown] is our quarterback," Edsall said. "Everybody is always competing, but C.J. is the starter."
This Maryland program had become unaccustomed to stability at that position.
Heck, it's fresh off a season in which a string of injuries ultimately put a freshman at quarterback for the final four games of the year.
But not just any freshman. It was Shawn Petty, a 6-0, 240-pound freshman linebacker who played some quarterback in high school.
So as Maryland prepares to open its season Aug. 31 against Florida International, it goes from a team that seemed to be half a step from drawing names out of a hat to pick a QB last season to a team with assurance at the top and options at the bottom.
And there may be certainty with Brown as the starter, but the waters begin to grow murky as Edsall moves down the depth chart.
Nearly two weeks of evaluation have done little to help him determine who will slot in as Brown's permanent backup, he says, but a decision is imminent.
"I wanted to see Ricardo [Young], Perry [Hills], and Caleb [Rowe] because I have no idea who's our No. 2 quarterback," Edsall told the media after practice on Tuesday.
"No one has really separated themselves, so I thought it would be a good day today to get those guys involved with the first unit and evaluate them because within the next day or two we have to move forward."
With Brown uninjured but watching from the sidelines on Tuesday, Young, Hills, Rowe, and even freshman Shane Cockerille got all of the reps with the first team.
But even that didn't seem to clear up the picture for Edsall.
"I wasn’t real impressed with things today," he said. "I think there were a couple things that they did well, but then there were mistakes that they make that you don’t think they should make."
That explains Young's day pretty well, as he showed the ability, perhaps better than any other quarterback, to keep the defense guessing because of his mobility.
He had a few long scrambles for big gains when plays broke down during live action, as well as some nice work off of the option.
But when forced to stay in the pocket, he wasn't as consistent. Freshman cornerback Will Likely intercepted one of his passes early on and he had trouble throwing into tight passing windows.
Despite his shortcomings, his mobility is unmatched among the other candidates to win the backup role.
Hills and Rowe were both solid, yet unspectacular. They both lacked a signature play in practice on Tuesday, unlike some of Young's scrambles.
"It’s not just what you see taking place on the field, but it’s also how are they managing the huddle," Edsall said. "Are they getting the things translated from the sideline to the field, and getting the plays off and all those sort of things? There’s a lot that goes into it."