Edsall names freshman
starting quarterback Randy Edsall took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce that true freshman Perry Hills would start Maryland's opening game against William & Mary.
This came as a shock to no one who saw Hills excel in Saturday's scrimmage. The only surprise was Edsall's release of the information 11 days in advance, a departure from last year when he kept quarterback decisions a closely guarded secret, sometimes right up until kickoff.
"Perry clearly is the No. 1 guy," Edsall said. "I just wanted our team to really understand who they're working with and get as many reps so they can all get comfortable."
Hills took the news in stride, seemingly unfazed by his remarkable assent. Fourteen months ago, when Hills committed to Maryland before his senior year of high school, Danny O'Brien and C.J. Brown had just wrapped up their redshirt freshman seasons, seemingly entrenched long-term as the Terps' No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks. But that was before O'Brien transferred and Brown suffered a torn ACL last week in practice.
"[Starting] was always my goal. That's always been my mindset," Hills said. "Hey, I don't want to go there and be the backup or be redshirted. I've always looked at it as I've always wanted to be the starter and worked toward that."
This might be a be-careful-what-you-wish-for situation, quarterbacking a team coming off a 2-10 season. But the Terps seem anxious to jump into the season with Hills. His performance in Saturday's scrimmage was a major confidence boost, not just for Hills, but for the players around him.
"The biggest thing that impresses me about him is that when he messes up, he doesn't let it affect him," senior tackle Justin Gilbert said. "He's not that guy that clams up after making one mistake. It showed on Saturday. We had huge drives. He was definitely commanding the offense."
While Maryland considers its future with Hills as its quarterback, Edsall delivered bad news on Tuesday that had the ring of 2011. Defensive end Andre Monroe, a standout last year as a freshman starter, will miss the season with a knee injury. He was hurt last week while running sprints.
The Maryland defense has been hit hard for a second straight year. Defensive end Keith Bowers and junior safety Matt Robinson (shoulder) are out for two to three weeks. Sophomore cornerback A.J. Hendy (ankle) and junior corner Isaac Goins (mononucleosis) are out for three weeks. Senior linebacker Kenny Tate and junior defensive end Isaiah Ross are out indefinitely. Tate's injury is to the opposite leg which cost him eight games last year.
In all, five players who entered the preseason as starters or co-starters on defense will likely miss the opener. To compensate, Edsall has shifted A.J. Francis from the nose to end. Sophomore Darius Kilgo takes over inside.
In addition, guard Josh Carey is out two to three weeks. Kicker Nick Ferrara is day-to-day. Monroe and Brown will undergo surgery on Thursday and Friday respectively. The laundry list of injuries was such that Edsall referred to notes when rattling them off.
"It's amazing. Andre Monroe was just running straight ahead," Edsall said. "His knee kind of gave out and that was it. A lot of the injuries we've had haven't even been contact situations."