Edsall: Maryland's situation is like UConn transitioning to Division I-A

It seems almost frivolous to ask these days who is Maryland's quarterback.

The answer? It's both Danny O'Brien and C.J. Brown. Each have played in six of the past seven games. All except one (Towson on Oct. 1) were losses.

The Diamondback student newspaper has suggested a moniker for the dual arrangement: "O'Brown."

In Maryland's past two games, coach Randy Edsall started one player at quarterback, then brought in the other in the second quarter.

The quarterback rotation has been overshadowed by Maryland's poor showing. Virginia's 31-13 victory on Saturday was Maryland's fifth straight loss and its seventh defeat in the past eight games. The Terps play Notre Dame, which beat Wake Forest 24-17 this weekend, on Saturday at FedEx Field in Landover.

Edsall, in his first season at Maryland, repeated Sunday that he has faith in his system and in himself.

"I've been through this before, so I know how to handle it. I know what to do," said Edsall, referencing experiences as head coach at Connecticut and as an assistant with the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. "This is Connecticut all over 13 years ago."

Connecticut was transitioning to Division I-A in Edsall's early years at the school. He was hired in 1999. The Huskies were 4-7 in 1999 and 3-8 and 2-9 the next two seasons.

Edsall's teams won eight or more games in each of the past four seasons.

Maryland's quarterback rotation seems designed to keep defense off balance. Brown, the more mobile of the two, has eclipsed 100 rushing yards in two games this season. O'Brien, more of a classic dropback passer, was Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year in 2010.

Opponents seem to play Brown differently than O'Brien. The defenses typically keep more players near the line to guard against quarterback runs.

Opponents "may not be used to playing those switching defenses," Brown said. "If we can catch them off-guard, that's something we're trying to take advantage of."

But Maryland (2-7, 1-5 ACC) has not scored more than 17 points in any of the past three games, and it's not certain whether Edsall will continue to rotate the two redshirt sophomores into games.

"We haven't really had success with it. We haven't had success without it," Brown said. "I don't know really what's going to happen right now."

When one quarterback is in the game, the other typically wears a headset and helps signal in plays from the sideline.

"Danny and I have a great understanding of what is going on and we're pulling for each other," Brown said.

Opposing defenses appeared to make adjustments after Brown recorded consecutive 100-yard rushing games in weeks five and six.

"They're putting more guys in the box to make me hand it off or to throw. We're still working on that," Brown said.

Said Edsall: "We just stay the course and we just keep going in that direction."



The good

Defensive tackle Joe Vellano forced a fumble and had 10 tackles. Wide receiver Quintin McCree had seven catches for 117 yards, and receiver Kevin Dorsey returned from an apparent hamstring injury. Dorsey "wasn't as sharp as he usually is," Edsall said.

The bad

Maryland continued to be hurt by receiver drops. The Terps surrendered 527 yards to the Cavaliers.

Next up

Notre Dame (6-3) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at FedEx Field in Landover.