Got to thinking today just when Maryland last switched quarterbacks – for whatever reason – after the season opener.
The answer was 2000, a time when the sun rapidly set on the Ron Vanderlinden era. And while Vandy probably would have done a few things differently if he thought his job might be in jeopardy that year – like not redshirt Bruce Perry and perhaps Latrez Harrison – he had a quarterback sideshow as well.
Incumbent starter Calvin McCall – back before he had traded in the short pass for a bounce pass – and junior college transfer Shaun Hill waged a battle for the starting job in camp. Vanderlinden, playing the time-tested card of paranoid football coaches from sea to shining seas, decided not to name a starter until game day. This was supposedly to ensure Temple wouldn’t know who was starting.
Anyway, he went with Hill, who played the first half before leaving with a shoulder injury. By the time he played again, Maryland was 2-4.
Hill took over in the middle of the N.C. State overtime victory that lifted the Terps to 5-4, but Maryland lost the last two and Vanderlinden was relieved of his quarterback-choosing abilities – and, in the bigger picture, his job – the day after the season ended.
That would not be a good formula to follow, obviously. But it will be somewhat interesting to see exactly how the Terps handle the change at QB.
Maryland, of course, said all the right things back in 2000 about how it didn’t matter who the quarterback was, how they were all good. The same was true this year. Then again, what are players supposed to say? The next time I hear “QB A is dreadful and gives us no chance to win” will be the first. At least from a player, anyway.
A lot of that same stuff was heard this summer as well. But at least these Terps have a pretty good idea what to expect out of both of their top two options.
The ‘00 Terps had only spring and August camp to get a gauge on Hill, and probably wouldn’t have guessed he would be a vastly superior option to McCall in the long run and lead Maryland to an ACC title during his time in College Park.
Chris Turner, of course, already has a couple superlative performances to his name and had a chance to start when this season began.
So here’s guessing the transition into Turner Time, v. 2.0, will be relatively smooth and won’t get underway at 5 or 35 past the hour.