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Danny O'Brien on his fumble: 'My heart sank immediately'

Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien said he found out last week that he would play at least some against Navy. Offensive coordinator James Franklin told him in a meeting.

During the game, Franklin told him to start warming up when Navy had a third-and-long play. I know there was some surprise in the press box when we saw him warming up. Two plays later, after Tony Logan’s long punt return, Maryland was in position to score.

“I was positive we were going to score,” O’Brien said. “I just wanted to punch it in and get us the lead.”

On the first play, O’Brien attempted to hand the ball off to running back Davin Meggett. O’Brien felt he got the hand-off off cleanly.

“One of those plays we run a million times,” O’Brien said. “I felt I got it to him. I turned around and there was a big pile of people and my heart sank immediately. A one-in-a-million thing, just happened to be the first play of my career.

“That’s what ate at me before we ended up winning, that I killed a good momentum booster. Luckily our defense held up.”

O’Brien told coaches that he was confident and was ready to go back in. Franklin said Wednesday that in such a close game they could not afford the risk.

Thoughts on O'Brien, please?

By Eric Prisbell  |  September 9, 2010; 1:03 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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I was confused on why Franklin would send in O'Brien after Robinson was leading the offense fairly effectively. I thought Robinson was hurt. Franklin needs to get O'Brien reps but in a game that was tied... Do it against Morgan State, especially since Maryland will win in overtime like they did against James Madison last year.

Posted by: kel4567 | September 9, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"Franklin said Wednesday that in such a close game they could not afford the risk."

I'm so glad our supposed coach in waiting knows this now.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | September 9, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

what BrokenClipboard said...

One of the dumbest calls I have ever seen made

Posted by: aarseneault06 | September 9, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

That was not the time to bring him in. I do like the aggressive decision but bringing him in to play against weaker competition such as this upcoming game against Morgan State would have been the thing to do and building his confidence. It looks like this play didn't affect that but we won't really know until we see him on the field this weekend.

In addition, I think Morgan State now knows that we are going to be throwing it all over the place this weekend. I think what we need to do is play to our strengths and exploit their weaknesses to get the score up and then provide the opportunity to play 3 quarterbacks. Do we need to work on the passing attack, yes. But let's not forget about the run and just executing instead of seeing if we can replicate a Mike Martz offense.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | September 9, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Friedgen defended playing O'Brien in that situation but added: "If I knew he was going to fumble the exchange, obviously I would not have put him in. I am not clairvoyant like a lot of the fans are."

Yeah Ralph, we're clairvoyant. we're not expecting you to be the same, but just a little common sense might be nice

Posted by: asnis715 | September 9, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen O'Brien in practice, and I doubt any of the others posting comments here have, either. The offense had stalled out the past couple of possessions with Robinson at the helm. (Whether that was Robinson's fault or just poor play-calling is another question.) Obviously, inserting O'Brien didn't turn out right this time; but I'm not going to join the parade of blowhards who think they know more about football and this team than the Md. coaches do.

I'd like to see Danny get extended action this week -- maybe one series in the second quarter, and the majority of the second half, especially if the game is well in hand. We may need him in some key ACC games down the stretch.

Posted by: SmittyATL | September 10, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

We won, so he and the coaches get a mulligan. On to game 2.

Posted by: terpin | September 10, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

The main reason why it was such an odd moment was because we had just gotten a big lift from the huge punt return. That would have been the time to shove it into the end zone and put Navy back on their heels for the rest of the game. We needed to step on the their throats, but we let them back in.

Fortunately, it did not affect the outcome of the game, so no harm, no foul. Let O'Brien play most of the second half against Morgan St.

Posted by: ecglotfelty | September 10, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

The kid was so nervous he couldn't execute the most basic of QB duties. We need confident players, but most of the blame here falls on the coaches.

Can anyone name another team who would do this as a "spark" for the offense in that situation? How about calling a play or formation that hadn't been used yet instead? I thought the running plays called that game were pretty good.

Practice is practice. You can't get overly confident in new QB until he's had game experience - at the proper time.

Posted by: terpfan4 | September 10, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Very poor call at a very crucial time. What bothers me more is the kid thinks,"I felt I got it to him." Replays clearly showed he lost the handle on the ball before handing it off. Take responsibility for screwing up something so very basic. That being said, let's see what he's got this week in a game that we can afford to put him into. GO TERPS!

Posted by: nrabill | September 10, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I think we all agree this was a poor coaching decision. The bigger issue is that O'Brien won't take responsibility. The replay shows he released the ball about 2 yards too soon. This is not what a leader does.

Posted by: srcog | September 10, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

It is ridiculous to judge O'Brien's abilities based on a single play. From what it seems many of you haven't seen him practice or in any other game-situations and it is highly doubtful you have played ACC football as a quarterback. Being a true Terps fan I choose to wait it out and judge O'Brien's abilities based on the season rather than a single play (first play of career to be exact). It is a wonder that people would bash him so quickly. Some fan..
Quarterback duties? Wow. Wait and see.

Posted by: whoanellie24 | September 11, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

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