Saturday more significant now that Brown is out
The Maryland Terrapins' first scrimmage of the preseason suddenly has become more intriguing with the news that starting quarterback C.J. Brown is done for the year with a torn ACL.
The injury leaves the Terps with three quarterbacks who have never taken a snap in a college game. Much of the attention Saturday at Byrd Stadium will be on true freshmen Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe and redshirt sophomore Devin Burns, a former quarterback turned wideout who has returned to his original position.
The 6-foot-3 Hills, who is from Pittsburgh, has been running with the starters in practice since Brown was hurt Tuesday night. The 6-2 Rowe, who is from Landrum, S.C., has been working with the second team. They were battling for the backup job. Now the stakes are raised.
"I think the biggest thing is you have to take a look first and foremost who can control the huddle," Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. "Can they get to the line of scrimmage and there's no delay of games and getting everybody lined up and doing all those things."
Hills had his moments during 11-on-11 work at the end of practice Thursday morning, showing composure under pressure and completing long passes. One was a strike over the middle to sophomore Marcus Leak, who took it the rest of the way on a play that covered approximately 70 yards. Hills threw another pass on the run that senior Kerry Boykins grabbed over his shoulder for roughly 25 yards.
According to senior wideout Kevin Dorsey, Hills has impressed his new teammates with his presence.
"From Perry you see the poise. He's just calm and relaxed," Dorsey said. "He's a guy who can come in and joke around a little bit, but when it's game time he's pretty serious."
Dorsey joked that the wide receivers considered Burns a "traitor" after he volunteered to return to quarterback following Brown's injury.
One of Edsall's first acts after taking over in January 2011 was to shift Burns to wideout. At the time, Burns was buried on the depth chart behind Danny O'Brien, Tyler Smith, Jamarr Robinson and Brown. The first three subsequently transferred.
Edsall said he was pleasantly surprised by his first look at Burns under center.
"He really hasn't had any problem with the cadence or those sort of things," Edsall said. "It's very obvious, and you can tell that he's been a quarterback before in high school and played in a very similar type of offense. Even some of his reads yesterday, I thought he did a pretty good job."
There was another bit of injury news as Edsall revealed that safety Matt Robinson had a labrum strain of his left shoulder and will miss at least three weeks. That will sideline him for the opener Sept. 1 vs. William & Mary. Last fall Robinson missed the final two months of the season with a right shoulder injury.
"It's not one that's a surgical situation," Edsall said. "Could it evolve to that? Possibly. But as of right now we're not at that situation."