By Jeff Barker
The Baltimore Sun
6:59 PM EST, February 8, 2012
Danny O’Brien likes most everything about Maryland. That’s certainly been a positive for the quarterback and the school. And it clearly factors into the inner debate he’s been having -- for months, those who know him say -- about where his immediate football future should be spent.
Largely through his family, I’ve kept tabs on O’Brien. Here is some of what I know:
* In recent months, he’s tried to focus on recovering from the broken bone in his left arm. He suffered the injury when he was slammed to the turf during the Notre Dame loss on Nov. 12. He adhered to a routine in his recovery, and getting healthy seemed to take precedence over other matters. He didn’t want to leave the routine and the staff until he was better. But he knew he had a decision to make -- eventually.
O'Brien is not the sort to commit to spring football under a new offensive coordinator without being prepared to follow through into the season. If he stays at Maryland, spring football would be an important time in the development of Mike Locksley’s offense. That’s why this is such an important period now for O’Brien, even though his participation in spring football would be limited because he is not yet 100 percent healthy. On Wednesday, he tweeted “Contrary to rumor, I am still a Terp,” but he didn’t address the future. Maryland has said it has no reason to believe he won't be back.
* Even as he said the proper, team-oriented things, O’Brien felt mismatched at times last season in Gary Crowton’s spread offense -- with its option reads. Crowton’s departure opened up the possibility of more of a pro-style offense that the quarterback seems to favor. It's rough for any quarterback to operate under three offensive coordinators in three seasons. O’Brien and his family have long been close with former offensive coordinator James Franklin, now the Vanderbilt coach.
* O’Brien loves the area – the proximity to the nation’s capital and to Baltimore, where he served as a summer intern at Under Armour and learned about marketing. He enjoys being a leader and face of the program. His image has adorned Terps' promotional literature. Will all that – plus his affection for the school and his Maryland friends – keep him in College Park? We’ll see.
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