Generally, backup positions aren't exactly breeding grounds for position battles. But when it's quarterback (the most important backup spot on the team), when the starter is a senior (meaning the winner has the upper hand for the position battle next year), and when none of the contenders have any legitimate game experience, well, that's as much a breeding ground for a PB as a gas station bathroom is for disease.
The Contenders: Jamarr Robinson, CJ Brown, Danny O'Brien
Jamarr Robinson: Robinson, a dual-threat redshirt sophomore, should have the upper hand. He's the only one with any experience in James Franklin's system, and the only one the coaches have any experience working with. However, if you've ever heard or read the transcript of a Ralph Friedgen press conference, you'd know that the coaching staff does not have a lot of faith in Robinson. On Terrapins Rising, Franklin revealed that Robinson does not know the playbook or technical matters as well as he should. Spring practice was supposed to be big for him, and the up-and-down nature of his performance proved inconclusive. In the spring game, he was good - 3 TDs, 253 yards - but not perfect - only 12 for 21 with an interception.That performance was good enough for him to hold the lead, but not good enough to seal it.
CJ Brown: A highly-rated QB from Pennsylvania, Brown has drawn some comparisons to Scott McBrien for his running ability and zippy arm, but he's still pretty raw. He very well could turn out to be the best out of all the quarterbacks in Maryland's stable, including starter Chris Turner, but to do that, he needs to have some coaching. He's still raw and has some rough edges in his game (happy feet, for instance), and the system he's entering isn't exactly easy to grasp. On the positive side, he is, by all accounts, a bright kid and should be able to pick up the system relatively quickly - he'll probably be the biggest competition for Robinson.
Danny O'Brien: Another freshman, this time from North Carolina, O'Brien is slightly less highly touted than Brown, but still a solid prospect. Most scouting reports indicate he's a bit more ready than Brown is - a bit more polished. On the flip side, his ceiling is lower than Brown's. Like the other two, he can make plays with his feet and is a good athlete, but his arm isn't quite as good as either Brown or Robinson. His status probably depends on how much Brown can progress in spring training - if he comes around, O'Brien may be stuck as the fourth option. If not, he could be the backup and push Robinson.
Prediction: In the end, Robinson should win - he has the experience, and sticking a redshirt sophomore in a game situation isn't nearly as scary as sticking a true freshman in. His spring game performance should give him too much of a head start over the freshmen, as long as he comes out and is solid fundamentally.