Among the casualties this season for Maryland has been the playbook.
Losing four quarterbacks to season-ending injuries means losing ability and depth. But it also means sacrificing complexity. You just can’t expect a linebacker who wasn’t playing offense during spring ball or August camp to digest too much, too soon. You’ve got to take a few steps back.
“It’s so unfair to throw a playbook on a freshman quarterback (Shawn Petty) that has had 2 ½ to 3 weeks to play the position,” offensive coordinator Mike Locksley said today as the Terps prepared for Florida State. “You’ve got to temper it down.”
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When it designs its game plans, Maryland must make a calculation that hadn’t entered the thinking before all those quarterback injuries: “Can Shawn execute it?”
There is a balance to be struck here. Maryland wants to structure plays that Petty is comfortable with. He ran a Navy-style option in high school. But you don’t want to be too predictable. You have to throw the ball some, if only to keep the opponent from stacking too many guys in the box.
In his first start, Petty had two touchdown passes to Stefon Diggs against Georgia Tech (one on the last play of the game). In two games, he’s completed 15 of 30 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns. He has been intercepted once but has had fumble problems.
(Note: We will learn the status of Diggs (ankle) for this week when Thursday's injury report is released.)
“I venture to say we haven’t been very creative. We’re trying to do what our quarterback can get accomplished,” Locksley said.
The Seminoles bring gaudy statistics to College Park. Their defense is ranked first in the nation (242.9 yards per game). They are surrendering an average of 74.3 rushing yards. They are scoring 43.1 points per game.
If the 'Noles win, they capture the Atlantic Division title and a berth in the ACC championship game.
Maryland will wear Under Armour-designed 'Black Ops" uniforms.
Maryland coach Randy Edsall said the Terps need to play “a perfect game” to win.
Translation: Shawn (and everybody else), please hold on to the ball.