Welcome to the first installment of our Maryland football season in review. We're commencing a position-by-position postmortem evaluation of this season's Terps, and we'll start with the only place that makes sense: at quarterback.
Perry Hills, junior, No. 11.
Caleb Rowe, junior, No. 7.
Shane Cockerille, sophomore, No. 2.
Daxx Garman, senior, No. 18.
What we thought was going to happen
Pete Volk thought Maryland had three palatable options at the position.
|Perry Hills||6'2, 210||JR||90||180||1001||8||13||50.0%||18||9.1%||4.5|
|Caleb Rowe||6'3, 220||JR||76||165||894||6||15||46.1%||1||0.6%||5.3|
|Daxx Garman||6'1, 205||SR||6||18||115||1||1||33.3%||5||21.7%||3.6
|Passing Downs S&P+||100.9||63||110.3||33||100.0|
|Passing Downs Success Rate||24.5%||114||29.7%||55||30.7%|
|Passing Downs IsoPPP||2.09||7||1.94||112||1.77|
|PD Line Yards per Carry||3.48||40||2.95||44||3.21|
|PD Sack Rate||9.5%||97||11.8%||13||7.5%
Maryland, this season, had a 90.27 team passer rating. That's dozens of points worse than the career rating for former Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown or linebacker-turned-quarterback Shawn Petty. It was No. 127 out of 128 FBS teams, only ahead of triple-option Georgia Southern, which practically never threw. It was the worst rating from a power conference team in college football since 2008. To call it putrid didn't do the team's passing game justice.
Maryland's real problem, all along, was the interception. The Terps threw 29 of them, which was six more than literally any other team out of the 128 in FBS. That's incredible. It's the widest last-place-to-second-last gap in at least 10 years, and I frankly lost patience in trying to find a bigger distance. My suspicion is there's never been one.
(Update! Via ESterps08 in the comments: The 1966 Wichita State Shockers threw 34 interceptions, nine more than anyone else. So Maryland was just the worst in 50 years, not ever.)
The only encouraging thing any Maryland quarterback did in 2015 was Perry Hills running the football. Hills was Maryland's starter for most of the season, and he did run for 639 yards and 6.9 per attempt. At one point, he out-gained Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, Penn State's Saquon Barkley and Iowa's Akrum Wadley in consecutive games. That was solid work, but it wasn't enough to compensate for passing inefficiency against good defenses.
If things go as Maryland surely wants, then four-star 2016 commit Dwayne Haskins will get to campus in the summer and immediately win the Terps' starting job. There are about 72 variables that could get in the way of that happening: Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley either staying or going, Haskins either following him elsewhere or not, Maryland either getting a transfer QB or not, Rowe or Hills either getting much better or not, or even Haskins just proving not to be quite ready to start in the Big Ten as a true freshman.
Maryland's 2016 starter will probably be Hills, Rowe or Haskins, but these things can change pretty quickly. No one expected Hills to start for Maryland in either 2012 or 2015, yet it happened both years.
No matter who's under center, though, Maryland is due for some positive regression to the mean. No matter how bad you think any of these options are, the Terps are not going to have the worst power conference passing game of a seven-year period, two seasons in a row. DJ Durkin can take solace in that things are going to get at least somewhat better.