Maryland Coach Randy Edsall fielded multiple questions during his postgame press conference about the thinking behind his decision to change quarterbacks twice during the Terrapins’ 31-13 loss to Virginia on Saturday.
His replies were not particularly revealing. And because offensive coordinator Gary Crowton isn’t made available to reporters, it’s difficult to get an understanding of Edsall’s strategy in starting Danny O’Brien for the first time in four weeks, replacing him with the more mobile C.J. Brown in the second quarter and then going back to O’Brien, who has the stronger arm.
Edsall dismissed a suggestion that the substitutions adversely affected the offense.
“It was our plan to put C.J. in, in the second quarter,” Edsall said. “I think that Danny moved the team down the field, and then we stalled and had to kick a field goal. When we made the move to put C.J. in, we went down and scored a touchdown. We had some things that happened, and as the game went along, we decided to play the guys that we played.”
Reporters weren’t the only ones puzzled by the call or by Maryland’s shift to a pass-oriented attack in the second half despite trailing just 14-13 at the break.
In the first half, Maryland’s offense was nicely balanced, with 16 carries and 18 passes. In the second half, Maryland ran just six times and threw it 25, going scoreless in the process.
Said Virginia defensive coordinator Jim Reid: “They abandoned what they had done really, really well, which was run the football. The zone read. All right — so they got beat by [Boston College] 28-10 [actually, 28-17], or something like that. But they had 400 yards of offense in the mud, you know? And the Clemson game, God! Clemson had no shot. These guys were just running all over the place.”