Judging the gaps

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Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin was predictably bombarded with quarterback questions last night after coach Ralph Friedgen floated the idea Sunday of changing signal-callers if things continued to go poorly for the Terps.

So, could Jamarr Robinson take over for Chris Turner? And is there a chance he gives Maryland a better chance to win?

To the latter, it is logical to infer the answer is no, or else the Terps would have gone that route already.

“That really hasn’t been a discussion,” Franklin said. “There was a time early on – and I think we’re protecting better now – but I think early on when we weren’t protecting well, it was like ‘Do you play Jamarr because if things break down he can at least take off and run and create a play.’ There was some thought about that a little bit. But if you just look at practice and evaluate practice and decisions being made and things they do, there’s still a pretty good gap.

That’s no disrespect to Jamarr. I think Jamarr’s coming along. I think with quarterbacks in general, there’s that point where the game slows down and the light comes on and everything starts to come together for them. He’s right at that point. He hasn’t broken over, but he’s right at that cusp.”

So Robinson isn’t moving ahead of Turner any time soon.

But how about freshman Danny O’Brien nosing past Robinson? Franklin had a long (and interesting) take on that, too.

“There’s not a big gap, but it’s two completely different things,” Franklin said. “Danny, mentally, is further ahead than any quarterback I’ve ever been around. He’s unbelievable. When I would send him information in the summer, and we’d talk about things on the phone or Internet or e-mail or text messages, he was asking me questions that I usually don’t get from guys who’ve been in the program for three years. He is very, very smart, football’s very important to him and he works at it. Mentally, he’s off the charts in terms of where he is at in terms of understanding the game and understanding the offense. A lot of times guys will ask you questions and they don’t understand how it all fits together. He was asking questions and I said ‘Why are you asking this’ and he said ‘Well, if this happens I have to do this, this and this.’ It’s like guys that play chess. …

“He’s special when it comes to that and poise on the field for a freshman. There’s not a big gap. But once again because of what Jamarr can do athletically, it evens the playing field a little bit.”

That’s a whole lot of text, clearly, but it’s significant that the intellectual side of things seems pretty well taken care of on O’Brien’s end. It also cements that a patented Maryland Quarterback Competition is in the offing for the spring and summer.

But that’s a long ways off. For now, Turner is still around, still trying to help the Terps salvage a season and still entrenched as Maryland’s starter.

Patrick Stevens

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