A week into training camp, the Maryland football team has a clearer picture of who will be the backup quarterback behind starter C.J. Brown, Coach Randy Edsall said on Tuesday afternoon following practice at Byrd Stadium.
Hills (6 feet 3, 205 pounds) has been working with the second team throughout camp, an indication he was at least somewhat further along in both understanding the terminology of the offense and executing on the field since spring practice.
But Edsall had been reticent to reveal which player he preferred in that role until after this past weekend, when the Terrapins completed their first scrimmage of the summer.
“We were able to get a great evaluation in, and right now Perry is the number two guy,” Edsall said. “He’s a little ahead of Caleb right now. You probably saw today, there were some different combinations out there with the first, second and third teams based on the first eight practices. . . .
“Some guys elevated themselves, and some guys didn’t do as much. There’s still really good competition there, but right now Perry’s ahead.”
Neither Hills nor Rowe were available to comment as per the football team’s policy of not allowing freshmen to speak with reporters during training camp.
Among the highlights for Hills in passing drills on Tuesday was a long completion to wide receiver Levern Jacobs (Suitland High School). Hills had been retreating under heavy pressure but was able to loft a pass that Jacobs, also a freshman, caught along the left sideline.
The pass came shortly after Brown threw a deep touch pass that landed in the arms of senior wide receiver Kerry Boykins for a 60-yard touchdown. Boykins had gotten behind senior safety Eric Franklin, and Brown’s pass hit him in stride over the middle of the field.
“I was in their position once fighting for a spot so I know what they’re going through,” said Brown, a fourth-year junior. “They’ve just got to keep their spirits up and keep going through it because it’s tough coming in and learning a college playbook. I tip my hat to Perry.”
Brown began last season as a backup to Danny O’Brien, who started the first five games. Brown started the next three before Edsall went back to O’Brien for consecutive games. Brown then started the last two games after O’Brien broke a bone in his upper left arm in a loss to Notre Dame.
Entering last season, Brown had played in only four college snaps because a shoulder injury kept him out of all but one game as a redshirt freshman in 2010. But he rushed for 574 yards, the most ever by a Maryland quarterback, and a team-high five touchdowns last season.
While not addressing the quarterback position specifically, Edsall said he told the team following practice there would be at least one reserve who figures to play extensively despite not counting on as much at this time.
“So now what they’ve got to understand is they’ve got to be ready to go in and play as good as or better than the guy they’re replacing,” the Terrapins’ second-year coach said. “They’ve got to come out here each and every day, and I don’t care if it’s the third-team guy or the fourth-team guy or the second-team, they’ve got to come out here everyday and work their tail off and pay attention in meetings so when their opportunity is called, they’ve got to go in and do a great job.”