That was the plan. Then everything went haywire in the alternate universe of the Maryland football team, where the unpredictable becomes the unbelievable, and suddenly the Gossett Team House training room is stocked with four injured quarterbacks, three with torn ACLs and two who are true freshmen.
The climax of the absurdity? Petty, who just two weeks ago began learning Maryland’s offense, will be the starting quarterback Saturday at home against Georgia Tech, because three of his predecessors now hobble around campus on crutches and a fourth only recently graduated to a knee brace.
Consider the reactions:
“Never in my life I thought a scout team linebacker would be the starting quarterback,” defensive lineman Isaiah Ross said. “It was definitely a shock. You don’t hear about this often.”
“I’ve never heard of anything like this. It’s unreal for me, but we have no choice but to step up and go with what we have,” wide receiver Nigel King said.
“It’s been surreal, seeing all these quarterbacks go down,” center Evan Mulrooney said. “You look at the big picture, and it feels like you’re in a movie. You can’t script this stuff.”
One gone, then three more
The injuries began slowly, in August during a preseason non-contact drill when incumbent starter C.J. Brown, a captain, tore his ACL.
Perry Hills stepped in for seven starts before an illegal block in the back shredded his ACL against North Carolina State. Caleb Rowe followed suit during Maryland’s penultimate play from scrimmage last weekend at Boston College, finishing the game until an MRI exam later revealed his own season-ending torn ACL.
“They’re like the Three Musketeers,” Caleb’s father, Dave Rowe said. Yet he was only referencing those three quarterbacks with torn ACLs, a list missing Devin Burns, a converted wide receiver who suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury while playing quarterback for Maryland in the waning minutes against North Carolina State.
Seven days. Three injured quarterbacks.
And so the list of potential signal-callers dwindled, until Maryland was left with no scholarship quarterbacks, attracting the most national attention it has all season because of the situation’s absurdity, because the two only players listed on the depth chart at quarterback wear Nos. 31 and 87. The third-string quarterback is “to be determined.”