Among the biggest questions for Maryland this coming offseason is what the future holds for sophomore quarterback Danny O’Brien, who saw his season cut short when he broke a bone in his upper left arm in Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame.
Maryland Coach Randy Edsall said Tuesday that doctors indicated O’Brien will be in a cast for 12 weeks and that surgery on his non-throwing arm will not be necessary at this time. O’Brien wrote on his Twitter account that it was a “clean break of the humerus,” which is a long bone that runs from the shoulder to elbow.
“They will continuously X-Ray it to see how the healing process is going,” Edsall said. “If it is not healing correctly then there could be a possible situation where they might have to do something. . . . Danny of course is disappointed as for what took place. He is still in quite a bit of pain right now but getting better.”
The injury, which O’Brien suffered while being tackled on a run in the third quarter of the 45-21 loss to the Fighting Irish, was a painful ending to a difficult season for O’Brien, who did not perform as well as he did when he won the ACC’s rookie of the year as a freshman.
Last season, O’Brien completed 57 percent of his passes and threw 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions. In seven starts this season, he completed 56.4 percent of his passes and threw seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also shared snaps with sophomore C.J. Brown after O’Brien was benched in the second quarter of the Oct. 8 loss at Georgia Tech.
How much of O’Brien’s performance should be attributed to the installation of a new spread offense, the departure of talented wide receivers, a rash of dropped passes by the current receivers or overall regression by O’Brien has been a matter of debate throughout the season.
O’Brien is a third-year sophomore who is expected to graduate in the spring. If he so chooses, O’Brien could take advantage of an NCAA rule that allows graduates to transfer to another Football Bowl Subdivision team and play immediately. O’Brien has two years of eligibility remaining.
When asked if he has any concerns about O’Brien transferring in the offseason, Edsall said: “We had a conversation and he, first of all, I don’t know if he can graduate in the spring, based on the records that I have. But he is very happy here, so I have no knowledge of that happening or anything.”
Brown, who will start Saturday’s game against Wake Forest, said he expects another quarterback competition with O’Brien to occur in spring practice.
Throughout the season, O’Brien has continued to be supportive of Brown, even as uncertainty persisted over who would start each game.
Edsall said O’Brien wanted to travel with the team to help root players on during their final two games against Wake Forest and North Carolina State, road games played in O’Brien’s home state of North Carolina. But doctors advised that O’Brien should not make the trips.
Some Maryland fans who tuned in to ESPN’s “College GameDay” on Saturday morning were surprised to see a large Maryland-themed sign among the hundreds held by fans in Palo Alto, Calif. The sign, which was visible over the shoulder of analyst David Pollack, featured the picture of a running back wearing a number 10 Maryland jersey and included the message “Free D.J. Adams.”
The sign encapsulated one of the team’s most vexing questions this season. After rushing for 11 touchdowns last season, Adams had carried the ball just 19 times before the Notre Dame game. Because of what Edsall said were injuries to other running backs, Adams carried the ball 16 times for 55 yards and a touchdown against the Fighting Irish.
When asked if the performance changed Adams’s standing in Edsall’s mind, Edsall said, “His standing is that he is one of the backup running backs and based on game plan, based on what we want to do against that particular team, we are going to decide during the week who gives us that best opportunity.” . . .
Edsall said 17-year-old linebacker Alex Twine, who earned ACC rookie of the week honors after his 12-tackle effort against Notre Dame, is nursing an undisclosed injury this week.
If Twine cannot play against Wake Forest, Edsall said, true freshman Cole Farrand would start at the Will position.