The Maryland football team enters Saturday’s game against No. 8 Clemson with a 2-3 record (they probably would be 1-4 if Miami was at full strength in the season opener). At least one player has voiced his displeasure with Randy Edsall. And former coach Ralph Friedgen recently said he was ready to set his diploma on fire).
Needless to say, the first five games of the Edsall era have not been ideal for the former Connecticut coach.
When Edsall took over for Friedgen, he inherited at 9-4 team with a star sophomore quarterback in Danny O’Brien, who threw for 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns (with just eight interceptions) in his freshman year. There was grumbling in these parts this summer when O’Brien didn’t make the preseason All-ACC team. Now improbably, in the second week of October, O’Brien may no longer be the top quarterback on Maryland’s depth chart.
Sophomore scrambler C.J. Brown spelled O’Brien for a series in the win over Towson. O’Brien tossed two touchdowns after a brief stint on the sidelines. But Saturday, when Brown replaced O’Brien, who completed one of six passes for 17 yards and an interception in the 21-16 loss to Georgia Tech, it was permanent.
Though he completed just four of his 17 pass attempts for 36 yards and an interception, Brown led the Terps on two touchdown drives, including one that started and ended with a 77-yard touchdown run by Brown. After Maryland's comeback came up short, Edsall didn’t say which sophomore quarterback would start against Clemson.
“We’ll just watch the film and evaluate it from there,” Edsall said on Saturday, making no promises.
So O'Brien, the program’s young offensive cornerstone, could be holding a clipboard against Tajh Boyd and the Tigers.
How did it even get to this point? O’Brien has struggled with the switch to the spread that Terps offensive coordinator Gary Crowton has installed. His top two targets from a year ago, Torrey Smith and Adrian Cannon, didn’t return this season, and the underused LaQuan Williams joined Smith in the NFL. In five starts, O’Brien has completed 62.2 percent of his passes and tossed six interceptions (with four touchdowns).
Does he still give the Terps their best chance to win? Or is Brown better suited to run Crowton’s offense?
Your turn: Which Maryland quarterback should start Saturday against Clemson?