In an exclusive interview, former Maryland great Scott McBrien said Danny O'Brien should start at quarterback for the Terps. He also suggested new offensive coordinator Gary Crowton should run plays more suited to O'Brien's strengths.
University of Maryland head football Coach Randy Edsall may not know whether to start Danny O'Brien or C.J. Brown at quarterback Saturday night against Clemson, but one prominent former Terp does. In no uncertain terms, former Maryland football quarterback Scott McBrien told SB Nation D.C. that Danny O'Brien should get the call.
"In my opinion, Danny should start," McBrien said. "For them to start C.J. Brown, I feel like it’s the wrong decision. Danny has proven it. He's a gamer, he makes the big plays."
McBrien starred for the Terps for two years under Coach Ralph Friedgen, winning bowl games against Tennessee and West Virginia, before playing professionally in the NFL and NFL Europe. Today, McBrien works in business development for a Maryland telecom company and runs quarterback camps for young players in the D.C. area. He warned that the Terps should avoid a two-quarterback system because it does not allow for either player to get comfortable.
"I'm not a big fan of the two quarterback system, and that comes from experience," he said.
When McBrien played in Europe, rules stipulated that each team play two quarterbacks for half of the game. He said it disrupted his rhythm.
"Now you've got Danny looking over his shoulder. If Danny makes a decision he thinks he is going to get pulled," McBrien said.
He added that Maryland offensive coaches need to tailor the game plan around O'Brien's skills, rather than ask him to be something he is not.
"For him that system is a little bit tough. I think a lot has to do with the system," McBrien said.
Offensive coordinator Gary Crowton brought a fast-paced tempo that works well for an athletic quarterback, but McBrien described O'Brien as more of a pro-style, drop-back passer.
"What a coach has got to do is run plays that Danny is good at. Every week you’ve got quarterback meetings. Bring Danny in the meeting for plays that he's most comfortable with," McBrien said. "You’ve got to run plays that suit the quarterback. You shouldn’t just run plays that you think should work."
Confidence may also be an issue.
"[O'Brien] can put the ball where it needs to be. But, he has made some bad throws this year. He might not be confident with where he's going with the football," McBrien said.
McBrien did say O'Brien's confidence should come as he gets accustomed to Crowton's offense, pointing to his own experience at Maryland early in his career. However, he reaffirmed that the Terps need to place their confidence in the sophomore quarterback, especially after his strong freshman season.
"Bottom line, Danny's your guy," he said. "He was the ACC rookie of the year. The guy's got some talent. C.J. Brown's got talent as well. He's a big kid, he's fast, he's athletic, but he doesn’t throw the ball as well as Danny or have the experience."
Whoever lines up at quarterback for the Terps will face a tough challenge in Clemson. The Tigers come into the game undefeated and ranked No. 8 in the country with impressive wins over Virginia Tech and Auburn. Maryland comes into the game after losing 21-16 to Georgia Tech last weekend, dropping their record of 2-3. O'Brien started that game, but was pulled for Brown midway through the second quarter.
"They're going to have to play a heck of a football game to beat Clemson," McBrien said.
For further reading, news, discussion and more, visit SB Nation's Clemson blog Shakin The Southland and SB Nation's Maryland blog Testudo Times. Here's this week's college football TV schedule, and stay tuned to SB Nation's college football news hub for more.