Starting today, we're going to run down the season, unit-by-unit, reviewing Maryland's worst season since the Civil Rights Era. We'll finish off with the reader-voted Terperlatives. We're starting out, however, with QB.
One position that Maryland considered completely settled coming into the season was quarterback. As it turned out, that wasn't the case; the questioning quickly rose as the losses piled up. Chris Turner, despite all he's done for the program in past years, just wasn't a good fit for this porous offensive line with his lack of escapability and gimpy knees.
We'll never really know if Ralph Friedgen or James Franklin would have voluntarily pulled the plug on Turner in favor of the more mobile Jamarr Robinson had Turner not gotten injured against N.C. St., but that might've actually been the best thing for the Terps. They got to see Robinson and found out he might've been the best fit all along.
Chris Turner, QB
No widget, but he threw for 2069 yards on 59% passing with 10 TDs and 10 INTs.
Turner came into the year with big hopes for his final season. Hampered by a terrible offensive line leading to constant sacks and frequent injuries, he never got off the ground (literally and figuratively). Despite a few good games against Middle Tennessee State, Clemson, and Duke, the season can't be considered anything other than a failure, even if it wasn't entirely his fault. He finally succumbed to injury for the final time against the Wolfpack, and though he got a little bit of PT against Boston College, everyone knew it wasn't his team anymore.
Turner probably doesn't have much a future in football, unfortunately. He could find a job as a backup in the NFL or CFL because he's smart and has had a decent career, but that's far from guaranteed. More likely, I could see him going into politics - he had an internship on Capitol Hill last summer.
Jamarr Robinson, QB
|2009 - Jamarr Robinson||6||50.0||46||85||54.1||460||76.7||5.4||2||0||53||229||38.2||4.3||0||-||-|
Robinson saw a bit of playing time early on in the Jaguar - that is, Jamarr Wildcat; shut up, that's what I'm calling it - which really wasn't much different than the much-maligned Portis Package. Despite coaches asserting they would give him a look for next year, they never really did, until they had to.
As it turned out, they had to against North Carolina State. Robinson played the majority of the N.C. St. game after Turner's injury, started the following two matchups, and might as well have been the starter against Boston College. He was a defensive lapse away from beating Florida State, and was only inches away from touchdowns on more than one occasion. It was clear after the first few games that he was the best fit for this type of offensive line - he, unlike Turner, was entirely capable of throwing on the run and improvising to make plays on his own.
He was impressive, but not overly so. He displayed a strong arm, but it wasn't always that accurate. He made quite a few plays on his feet, but it got to the point where you were wondering if he was becoming single-minded, like people often complained about Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick. He did well enough for me to have some confidence in him, but not well enough for me to declare him the starter for next year.
The early money on the starter for next year, and who will probably be the starter on the depth chart on Day One, is Robinson, as he and Clay Belton are the only ones with any type of experience. Robinson has been in the system longest, and Friedgen is most comfortable with him. He's also expressed a desire to move back to a Scott McBrien-type QB, and Robinson would be that.
Other options include the aforementioned Belton and redshirt freshmen C.J. Brown and Danny O'Brien. Belton transferred over from Miami (OH) and might have the best physical tools of the bunch: he's big, tall, strong, and his feet aren't made of steel. More than once he's drawn comparisons to a slimmer Byron Leftwich. If Maryland wants to go West Coast, he'd be a main contender.
Brown would challenge Belton in the physical tools category, except he's significantly faster. Out of everyone, he might be the most reminiscent of McBrien himself. If they want to go mobile, he'd be #2 behind Robinson.
O'Brien was the one who might've started had they felt bad about Robinson, but they luckily avoided burning his redshirt. He's the slowest out of all the QBs on the roster, but probably the smartest. If there's anything we know about Ralph, it's that he loves smart QBs, so he'll have a shot. Speed and other physical tools are a big minus for him, meaning he's much more like a Sam Hollenbach than a Scott McBrien. If they are truly searching for McBrien, they don't have it here.
Two other options are true freshmen Tyler Smith and Devin Burns. Smith has gotten rave reviews from ESPN and seems to be a great fit for the West Coast offense of James Franklin: tall, quick release, and zippy, accurate ball. Burns is a tough call who's had a fantastic senior year; if they went with more of a spread set, he would be a great choice. He's athletic with a strong arm and good elusiveness, although that arm - like Robinson, isn't always the most accurate. Ending up at WR, ala Latrez Harrison, wouldn't be a stretch.
I'll say this, though: at least one, possibly two, of these guys will leave. One of O'Brien or Brown, and probably one of Smith or Burns, if Burns stays at QB, will transfer - there's just too many cooks in the kitchen.