COLLEGE PARK--Being a fifth-year starting quarterback on a college football team naturally categorizes you. You’re a holdover from the previous coaching regime. You’ve been trusted with the reins of the offense.
But what happens when you’re a sixth-year quarterback in the same position?
“I think I was the old guy last year,” Maryland’s C.J. Brown, who finds himself in that situation in his sixth year, said with a laugh at spring practice last week.
Brown was granted a sixth year of eligibility due to injury by the NCAA prior to last season, essentially cemented the fact that a two-year run of a Brown-run offense would begin in August 2013.
Though forced to work through various injuries last season, including a concussion suffered in a loss to Florida State and lingering mid-section issues, Brown filled the mold that head coach Randy Edsall envisioned.
When healthy, he was a dual-threat quarterback who could both beat teams through the air and on the ground. He finished with 2,242 yards and 25 total touchdowns while throwing seven interceptions.
He now returns to a wide receiving core that is one of the conference’s most talented but is also recovering from injury.
“I’m still a senior but each year I feel, as a quarterback, I think [certain things] come with the territory,” he said. “In terms of leadership and, you know, guiding the younger guys.”
The “younger guys” will be vying for the backup job behind him, including Caleb Rowe, who started in Brown’s place when he was injured in 2013, and Perry Hills, who continued to recover from a knee injury last season.
“Guys look to me,” Brown said. “[They] look to see how I’m doing, look how I’m performing and how I’m feeling when I come out here so I think it’s big...to be out here, to have some fun.”