Everything appears set for Chris Turner to have a breakthrough season, right? He finally has the starting spot secure, he's surrounded by a ridiculous plethora of talented wideouts, and he's been in James Franklin's system for a year now. Add in Da'Rel Scott, Davin Meggett, and the rest of the RBs, and that looks like a dream scenario.
Huh? The offensive line? Oh, crap.
Yes, if there's one thing that could derail the perfect storm brewing for Turner and Maryland's offense, it would be the very young, very inexperienced offensive line. As we saw last year, during the FSU game especially, (and really, every game if you're a Redskins fan) is that a QB can't succeed when he's on the ground the entire game. And if there's anything that looks like a safe bet this year, it's that Chris Turner will be on the ground a lot.
The possible sack number, which could be scary, when combined with the fact that Maryland has had a QB hurt almost every year since 2003, means there's a darn good chance that Turner will get hurt at some point in the season. I'm not saying he'll tear an ACL, but not considering the possibility of a two- or three-week injury is foolish. He's a tough kid, but that can't protect him from 4 sacks a game.
So let's play a little game, a hypothetical mind exercise. Let's say Turner breaks...something. I don't know, a bone on his non-throwing arm. Let's say he's out for a month. Further, let's say it happened during the Middle Tennessee State game, meaning the replacement would play against Rutgers, Clemson, Wake Forest, and Virginia. Which leads to the $64,000 question(s): would you feel comfortable throwing Jamarr Robinson out there for four games? Would the coaching staff?
It was made clear during the ACC media days that Robinson, Maryland's current backup QB, was the most improved player of the spring. That's great for Jamarr, but look at where he started out - the coaches couldn't guarantee him the backup spot when there was no one to contend for the backup spot. It's not like the bar was set incredibly high. Who knows, maybe they couldn't do it even after his improvement. Basing the decision on who would go in for a month of games off a good two weeks seems a bit, well, unrealistic.
I don't have any doubts he'll win the backup spot. True, C.J. Brown or Danny O'Brien, the incoming freshmen challengers, could conceivably beat him out, but the tail end of spring and his experience with the staff and the offense point to him winning it. That said, there's a big difference between backup and starter, and it's definitely possible that, while the coaches would feel comfortable with him QBing for a quarter, they'd take issue with him QBing for a month.
In case you forgot, when Robinson came into the spring, there were major doubts about his ability to be the full-time backup. Those doubts, which intensified before reaching an apex about mid-way through, ended up subsiding after a solid week or two to close out the spring. Like I said before, the coaches might consider playing a guy for a quarter or a game for a solid two weeks, but any extended playing time, and that has to be thrown out the window.
Robinson has a minor experience advantage. He's the most athletic of the bunch, and his arm is adequate. Brown has the highest ceiling, and his athletic ability rivals Robinson's. O'Brien isn't a slouch with running, but isn't quite as good as the previous two, though his arm might be the best of the bunch. While Robinson hasn't proven he can be a starter in his three years here, the other two remain true freshmen, always a scary play in the ACC.
Obviously, we'll know a lot more in the coming weeks. We'll know how much Robinson retained from his solid few weeks. We'll know how capable the freshmen are of running a west coast offense. We'll know a countless number of other important things that we don't know right now. But I pose this final question to you.