A transition period was expected when Randy Edsall arrived at Maryland to take over the football program from Ralph Friedgen. Every new coach wants to slap his stamp on his new team, even if it was one that went 9-4 in the previous season with a bowl game win. But I'm sure few saw this transition at quarterback coming.
Sophomore signal-caller Danny O’Brien was the ACC’s Rookie of the Year in 2010. He thrived in Friedgen’s pro-style offense as a freshman, throwing for 2,438 yards, 22 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He was a preseason All-ACC candidate heading into the season, and was, and still is, a legitimate NFL prospect.
But O’Brien got lost at some point in the transition from 2010 to 2011. His top two targets from a year ago, Torrey Smith and Adrian Cannon, are no longer in College Park. Edsall scrapped Friedgen’s offense for new coordinator Gary Crowton’s spread attack. And O’Brien’s decision-making wasn’t as sharp in his five starts. He tossed six interceptions in 156 attempts after throwing eight in 337 during his sensational freshman season.
He was replaced by scrambling C.J. Brown in the starting lineup against No. 8 Clemson, and Brown ran with the opportunity, picking up a school-record 162 rushing yards by a quarterback in a thrilling 56-45 loss.
Brown will start for the Terps this weekend, and if they continue to pile up points and yards, he will stay there.
So what should O’Brien do if he doesn’t win back his starting gig this season?
According to The Washington Post, he has options if he is considering leaving College Park. He is reportedly on pace to graduate early this spring, so he could go the Russell Wilson route and play one year at a FBS program as a graduate student. Or he could go the Joe Flacco route and play two years at an FCS school.
He could always stick around and try to reclaim his spot atop the depth chart before his junior year, but he doesn’t seem to be well-suited for Crowton’s spread offense and wouldn’t be showcasing his skills to scouts.
Edsall hasn’t made O’Brien available for interviews since his demotion, and I doubt O’Brien would tell a hungry pack of reporters in the middle of the season that he plans on transferring. So why don’t you speculate for him?
Your turn: Should Danny O’Brien stay at Maryland or should he go?