As Maryland football’s season opener against Texas draws nearer, the picture of the quarterback battle is becoming clearer.
Tyrrell Pigrome and Kasim Hill looked like the leaders in the quarterback competition, with Caleb Henderson on the workout bike at Friday's open practice.
On Saturday, the Terps opened up practice to the public, and allowed the quarterbacks to run a couple series. Pigrome and Hill ran with the first team, while Max Bortenschlager manned the second string. Here’s how they performed:
By my count:
Tyrrell Pigrome: 3/6, 1 sack, 1 INT
Kasim Hill: 5/10, 1 sack, 1 false start
Max Bortenschlager: 3/7, 3 false starts, 3 sacks
It was a mixed bag for Pigrome. He looked like the sharpest passer in Friday's practice, but was underwhelming Saturday. His short throws looked crisp, and he probably would've escaped the sack in live action, but his only deep throw of the day was picked off by Darnell Savage. The pass was a poor read by Pigrome, as his receiver was covered with Savage lurking over the top. Pigrome looked comfortable commanding the line of scrimmage, but didn't do anything to separate himself from the competition and may have taken a step back Saturday.
Hill turned in the day's top quarterback performance. He’s going through his progressions, is not afraid to throw the ball away to save a possession and can save a play on the ground as well. His timing was a tad off on a couple plays that could've gone for big gains, but it appears the staff will let him sling it when he sees fit. He let a couple deep balls fly; one landed inches away from the receiver’s hand after a one-handed attempt to reel it in failed. The play that most showed Hill’s maturity in the pocket saw him creep out as the protection collapsed, eyes upfield until the line of scrimmage, before he decided to take off. Hill also capped off a successful goal line series with a keeper on an option at the goal line, but the play was nullified by a false start. His best pass of the day came after he received a couple blocks up front, started to move out to his left, then found a cutting receiver across the middle of the field.
Bortenschlager was the only other quarterback to get significant snaps on Saturday, and looked like a backup. He had his fair share of good throws, including one for a 25-yard gain and another across the middle to junior receiver Michael Cornwell for a solid catch-and-run. However, he also had major gaffes at the line, with three false starts, and took more sacks than any other quarterback Saturday, as the least mobile of the three. While the false starts are not wholly his fault, he didn’t seem to have control of the line. Bortenschlager will have his shot at the quarterback job, but it’s probably telling that he is running with the second string.
Henderson could still compete for the job if he gets healthy soon, but Pigrome and Hill are looking like the leaders. Things aren’t set in stone, though, and the staff likely won’t name a starter anytime soon.