The second bye week has arrived at the perfect time, a reprieve from the bruising schedule that has deposited many Maryland football players onto the lengthy injury list. Atop the list of hopeful returnees sits quarterback C.J. Brown, whom Coach Randy Edsall declared the starter during his Sunday afternoon teleconference with reporters.
“Right now I’m not even thinking about that,” Edsall said. “I’m just trying to get through this game. C.J.’s ready to go. C.J.’s our starter. We’ll put an end to that right there so you won’t have anything to write for two weeks.”
So that settles that. Brown missed his second ACC games after sitting out Maryland’s 40-27 loss to ninth-ranked Clemson on Saturday afternoon with a trunk injury suffered teh previous week at Wake Forest. Backup quarterback Caleb Rowe, making his third career start, passed for 282 yards and three touchdowns but completed less than 50 percent of his passes and threw two interceptions. Brown left the 34-10 loss against the Demon Deacons shortly after halftime, after also being picked off twice. His injury was undisclosed at the time, and later revealed on Thursday’s injury report.
The bye week could also help Maryland return several key defensive contributors, including starting cornerback Jeremiah Johnson (fractured toe), who has missed every game since the season opener, and linebacker L.A. Goree (back spasms), whose injury flared up in Winston-Salem and kept him out of the loss to the Tigers.
Edsall, however, declined to comment on any injury, though based on their respective recovery timetables it appears both Johnson and Goree should be healthy with Syracuse rolls into College Park on Nov. 9. Backup slot receiver DeAndre Lane (concussion) should also be available; even though he was still experiencing symptoms last week, those have since subsided.
“As I told our guys today, usually when you play the game really, really hard I think you have less injuries,” Edsall said. “I think we played hard, came out of it really good. As far as any speculation for Syracuse right now, I’m not going to speculate on that or even discuss it. I’ll just follow the protocol we have within the league when it comes to the injuries.”
This means nothing until Nov. 7, the Thursday before Maryland begins the final third of its season, with ACC games against Syracuse, at Virginia Tech, vs. Boston College and at North Carolina State. The Terps remain stuck one victory away from bowl eligibility, a goal Edsall maintained still remains within reach.
“We want to get to a bowl game, that’s the biggest thing that’s there for us,” Edsall said. “If that’s not motivation enough for you, then we don’t have the right people. I know our guys are motivated. They want to accomplish that. We’ll do everything we can to get that done. There’s a lot of resolve for this team. They want to accomplish that goal, and I think they’re willing to do whatever is necessary to make that possible regardless of what position we’re in.”
Over the bye week, Edsall said the Terps will “get our guys healthy…take a look at ourselves…practice…and recruit on Friday.” Maryland recently landed its first class of 2015 prospect, the massive E.J. Donahue from Linganore High School in Frederick. Gilman High School defensive standout Melvin Keihn and Florida safety Shawn Boone both took their official visits to College Park for the Clemson game.
As for the team currently taking the field, Edsall lamented the missed opportunities discussed during his postgame press conference. Maryland drove inside the Tigers 40-yard line three times and only emerged with six points, while four turnovers delivered prime field position for a Clemson offense that needed no help getting jump-started.
Asked whether the offensive line, which allowed just two sacks against a Tigers team tied for the national lead, has pleased him through eight games, Edsall spoke broadly about his disappointment.
“I’m not pleased with anybody from a standpoint of the consistent part,” Edsall said. “I thought we gave good effort yesterday, but we didn’t have the things we needed to do. We have to run the ball better than how we ran it yesterday. We have to get those guys better in terms of their fundamentals and techniques. If we continue to get better, we’ll pick it up. That’s not just the offensive line — it’s the receivers, running backs, tight ends, quarterbacks, everybody. We have to do more of the little things right tall the time in order to have the productivity we need against a team like Clemson and all the teams. We have to give the kind of effort we gave yesterday each and every play for an entire game.”