A tidbit of note from Maryland coach Randy Edsall’s teleconference this afternoon. He suggested quarterback Danny O’Brien (who is the subject of a dead-tree edition story in tomorrow’s crabwrapper)
“There were some guys who weren’t out there who were out there previously,” Edsall said. “I don’t think he let the game come to him and didn’t make his natural throws and predetermined some things and was going to throw to some people regardless. In the second half, you saw him go with his reads the ball was being spread around and he was being a lot more effective.”
(Edsall is alluding to the absence of suspended wide receivers Quintin McCree and Ronnie Tyler, who hauled in 13 receptions in Maryland’s opener).
This, of course, can be checked with a little research – at least to some degree after dissecting who O’Brien targeted.
First up, here’s his target list from the first half, when he was 14-for-25 for 112 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions:
DANNY O’BRIEN vs. WEST VIRGINIA, FIRST HALF
|Player||Targets ||Rec. ||Yards|
|Kevin Dorsey||10||4||38 (TD) |
|Matt Furstenburg ||3||3||11|
One of his passes was batted down at the line, which explains the discrepancy in attempts and targets. Even though the receptions were spread evenly, it was pretty clear Kevin Dorsey was O’Brien’s preferred target. Whether that’s because he was open more often or because of a comfort level is for someone else to assert with certainty.
In any case, things look a little different in the second half, when O’Brien was 20-for-27 for 177 yards and an interception:
DANNY O’BRIEN vs. WEST VIRGINIA, SECOND HALF
|Player||Targets ||Rec. ||Yards |
|Matt Furstenburg ||5||4||59|
Five players had three targets after halftime, but none more than seven. There could be quite a bit of truth to Edsall’s analysis.
One thing is definite: O’Brien was much improved in the second half. It’s not a stretch to think spreading the ball around a bit more had something to do with that.