After benching his starting quarterback and making reference to concern over the Maryland football team’s overall health at the position, Coach Randy Edsall has listed C.J. Brown and Caleb Rowe as co-starters on the latest depth chart entering this weekend’s home matchup against ninth-ranked Clemson.
Brown was removed from Saturday’s 34-10 loss at Wake Forest following a dismal first half, which included his second and third interceptions of the season. Before spending the game’s remainder signaling plays on the sideline, Brown absorbed three sacks, each an increasingly tough blow to take given the concussion that sidelined him against Virginia on Oct. 12. Asked about the quarterbacking situation on Sunday, Edsall said, “We’ll put the guy on the field who gives us the best opportunity to win based on the health of the quarterbacks.”
Personnel decisions normally are not finalized until Thursday afternoon, so it’s unlikely Edsall will comment on specifics during his Tuesday news conference with reporters. However, after entering the season unconditionally supporting Brown in his recovery from ACL surgery, this latest development indicates either wavering confidence in the fifth-year senior or a health issue that caused the shakeup. Either way, there might not be clarity on the until just before the 3:30 p.m. kickoff on Saturday.
“I don’t expect anything,” said Rowe on Saturday, after finishing the game with 207 passing yards on 27 attempts and one touchdown. “Just whatever coach feels. I’m just going to do what I can to be the best quarterback I can be through practice, and even if I’m second or first, I’m here to make Maryland football better. Whatever that is, I’ll do.”
The latest depth chart also reflects the season-ending broken legs suffered by wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, elevating backups into starting roles. Speedy redshirt freshman Amba Etta-Tawo assumes Long’s spot, while Levern Jacobs becomes the new slot receiver without Diggs around. Malcolm Culmer and Nigel King, who have flip-flopped all season for the final starting spot, are currently listed as co-starters, though both should see extensive time on Saturday versus the Tigers.
Freshman wide receiver DeAndre Lane will serve as Jacobs’ backup, though he suffered a concussion during practice last week and missed the trip to Winston-Salem, N.C. Instead of Diggs, Likely and Jacquille Veii are listed as the first- and second-string kickoff returners, respectively.
The Monday injury report, containing only players lost for the season, added freshman defensive lineman Kingsley Opara (shoulder) to the list. Opara had not played this season and was headed for a redshirt year.