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When Chris Turner went down in the second quarter of the Maryland-NCST game clutching his leg, I was one of the ones who said "Oh God, Turner's hurt" (no really, exactly that), thinking that this was basically Code Red: playing Jamarr Robinson.
It was no secret that Robinson wanted to switch to the defensive side of the ball in the spring and had notorious trouble with the playbook. I had nightmares of him calling the wrong play, not knowing what to do, and generally being lost. The season was already lost, so I'm all that worried about winning or losing, but it was still pretty scary to see.
So imagine my surprise when Jamarr didn't play terribly. He didn't light the world on fire - 5-11, just 27 yards - but he made a few plays with his feet and was literally a foot or so away from scoring on two of his first few throws. He wasn't more impressive than Turner, but he shouldn't have been expected to be. He went in, middle of the game, without warming up, losing, with a poor offensive line. It was surprising that he even faired as well as he did.
I'll say it this way - he didn't look entirely lost out there, and when he did, he was poised enough to get out of the pocket and successfully improvise. That's an extremely important component in this offense, because the offensive line is so terrible that it doesn't really matter if you're lost or not - you'll rarely have enough time to make a good decision.
The thing that most surprised me was his physical talent. For some reason I had the impression that he was neither highly mentally skilled nor physically skilled - neither looked true. His arm actually looked just as strong if not stronger than Turner's, and, as I said before, he was just a foot away from possibly two TDs. To me, that looked like jitters - he wasn't in the flow of the game, or was nervous. Give him a week, and a lot of things will change.
In a way, he reminded me of Jacory Harris - his body build, his athleticism, and a definite air of swag. It would be wonderful to have a QB with swag. Gobbler Country came up with the idea of shaving a turtle shell design into his hair, ala Harris' U design, which would give him our everlasting support.
There is, however, a caveat - this defense is the worst in the ACC, by far. NCST gave up around 45 points a game their past two outings, and several hundred yards. If Jamarr Robinson was going to make his debut against anyone, it'd be NCST. They're god-awful. That being the case, you really can't read much into it.
I will say this, though - unless Turner is 100% healthy, which I doubt, he doesn't go against Virginia Tech. Even if he is, he should be at the least platooning, for two reasons. First, it sounds strange, but Robinson might give Maryland the best chance to win. Virginia Tech's defensive line will dominate Maryland's offensive line, and Robinson has the ability to get out of the pocket and make stuff happen when the pocket collapses. Turner doesn't.
That said, Turner's the superior QB right now (at least, it seems that way), so I don't call for Jamarr to start without a secondary reason, and that's the future of the program. Next year might not be all that bad - the defense will be in its second year, with Antwine Perez, Kenny Tate, Cameron Chism, Alex Wujciak, Demetrius Hartsfield, and Adrian Moten returning, among others, and the offense will still have a ton of weapons combined with a somewhat more experienced offensive line. The biggest question mark will be QB, and that's not a good question mark to have. The more we know about Jamarr, the better. And the more PT Jamarr gets, the less likely he is to bomb if he's the QB.
Ralph can't take that too far, though, to play the freshmen QBs and waste their redshirts. He mentioned that he considered it/is considering it, and if he does, I'll probably hurt him. Or at least make him go on a harder diet.
I appreciate all that Chris has done, but there comes a time to move on to a different guy for the sake of the program. And that guy is, for now, Jamarr Robinson.