Terps hoping O'Brien will be ready for W.Va. game

Maryland rejects notion of quarterback controversy

September 12, 2010|By Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK — — Quarterback Danny O'Brien woke up Sunday with three touchdown passes to his credit and a right ankle that was not as sore as he feared it might be.

Maryland coaches are hoping that O'Brien will be healthy enough to allow the Terrapins (2-0) the option of playing the redshirt freshman again — along with fellow quarterback Jamarr Robinson — when they travel to West Virginia Saturday to face the 21st-ranked Mountaineers.

It will be Maryland's first game this season against a team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.

"I think it's a big step. It's a situation where we'll know a little bit more who we are," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said of playing West Virginia, who rallied from a 15-point, fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Marshall, 24-21, in overtime.

"If we could be successful there, I think it would give us tremendous confidence the rest of the season," Friedgen said in his weekly media conference call on Sunday.

O'Brien received the first extensive playing time of his career in Saturday's 62-3 victory over Morgan State at Byrd Stadium. He was 5-for-10 for 79 yards and three touchdown passes. But he left the game limping badly and wore a plastic ankle support for a sprain afterward.

O'Brien and offensive coordinator James Franklin said Saturday that they expected the quarterback to be ready for the West Virginia game.

On Sunday, Friedgen said: "Danny felt it [the ankle] was better than what he thought it would be. We'll probably have to wait and see how it develops."

Maryland has rejected the notion of a quarterback controversy. Indeed, there is a difference between Maryland's situation and a typical battle for the No. 1 spot.

In Maryland's case, coaches and players say, there is little competition between O'Brien and redshirt junior Jamarr Robinson. That's because both are expected to play. The uncertainty centers on whostarts and who finishes.

Having both quarterbacks provides "a good change of pace. He and Jamarr are different kinds of quarterbacks," said running back D.J. Adams, who rushed for 70 yards on 11 carries and scored the first two touchdowns of his career.

Wide receiver Torrey Smith said he doesn't consider it a "controversy" if you have "two guys who can get it done."

Robinson, who is more of a running threat than O'Brien, completed 6 of 14 passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

After studying the game video, Friedgen said Sunday of Robinson: "I definitely think Jamarr missed a couple throws." But the quarterback was also victimized by some erratic routes by his receivers, the coach said.

Friedgen said O'Brien "made some mistakes. He made some good throws and some guys made some plays for him. I look at it as we've got two good quarterbacks, and that should make us stronger."

Notes: Friedgen said tight end Will Yeatman (broken finger) may return Saturday but may have to wear a cast that would limit his play. …The coach said freshman Devin Burns appears to be the third-string quarterback now that C.J. Brown (broken collarbone) is out. …Defensive end Marcus Whitefield was due to have an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of a knee injury suffered against Morgan State.

jeff.barker@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/sunjeffbarker

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