Maryland football coach DJ Durkin said Thursday that sophomore quarterback Max Bortenschlager, who came out of last week’s game at Ohio State after taking a forearm to the head, is “progressing well throughout the week” and has been able to practice.
Still, Durkin said that whether Bortenschlager or redshirt junior Caleb Henderson will start against Northwestern on Saturday at Maryland Stadium would be a “game-time decision.”
If Bortenschlager is unable to go, Henderson would become the fourth quarterback to start a game for the Terps this season. Sophomore Tyrrell Pigrome and freshman Kasim Hill are out for the season with torn ACLs.
Making his second start this season and third career start, Bortenschlager was injured late in the third quarter of Maryland’s 62-14 defeat to the then-No. 10 Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium.
After a short run, Bortenschlager slid and was hit by sophomore cornerback Damon Arnette under the quarterback’s chin strap. Arnette was not called for a late hit but was ejected for targeting.
Given Maryland’s inability to keep its quarterbacks healthy, Henderson’s role has changed significantly since the season began with the North Carolina transfer trying to recover from a foot injury. Henderson reinjured the foot during preseason camp after suffering what he said was a broken foot in the spring.
“His role is critically important no matter what Max’s role is,” Durkin said. “Obviously as the guy who’s playing in the game or is one play away from playing in the game. Certainly we know better than anyone that if you’re one play away, that’s close to being on the field. He’s got to be a guy that’s got to be always ready to go and have the right mindset being the starter.”
Durkin said Henderson, who many thought might be the starter this season until he hurt his foot in the spring, “has certainly progressed, his health is much better. I think him getting more reps as of lately has certainly helped him. That’s always a good way to make improvements rather than when you’re a third- or fourth-team guy. That’s hard to get enough quality reps to see a lot of development.”