Thoughts on the Robinson-O'Brien quarterback debate at Maryland
Regardless of Danny O’Brien’s health Saturday, and regardless of who starts at quarterback for Maryland against West Virginia, this much can be said: O’Brien will figure heavily into how the Terrapins fare this season. He impressed fans and media members alike – two groups of individuals who don’t get to watch practice on a daily basis --- by throwing touchdown passes on three of the first four pass attempts of his career against an overmatched division I-AA opponent. That’s impressive, regardless of opponent.
But for Maryland's coaches, they know what O’Brien can do. They’ve seen it in practice this season and last season when he redshirted. James Franklin, the team’s offensive coordinator, has called O’Brien one of the most impressive freshman quarterbacks he has seen because of his poise, preparation and intelligence. And remember, Coach Ralph Friedgen flirted with what seemed like a peculiar notion of burning O’Brien’s redshirt late last season.
Even if they conclude in a few weeks that O’Brien is the best option going forward – and there is no indication that will be the conclusion at this time --- you have to figure current starter Jamarr Robinson will figure into the offense, as well. His running ability adds a dimension to the offense that it has not had the past few years. He missed some opportunities, in Friedgen’s view, against Morgan State. He has also thrown interceptions in each of his first two games this season. With a difficult road game looming, my hunch is that Robinson starts at West Virginia even if O’Brien is healthy. But expect O’Brien to play a significant portion of the game if his right ankle cooperates.
It will be interesting to see how Friedgen and Franklin handle the quarterback rotation the next few weeks, win or lose Saturday. But what they have are two quarterbacks that present different challenges for defenses --- and that is a good problem for a 2-0 Maryland team early in the season. After all, it’s a lot better to debate this than speculate on a head coach’s future, a subject that dominated the chatter during the second-half of last season.
Friedgen is getting ready to speak at his weekly news conference in a few minutes.
How does everyone else feel the quarterback rotation should be handled?
September 14, 2010; 12:40 PM ET
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