There was one significant question from Saturday’s game at California that hadn’t popped up until this evening.
But it seemed like one worth asking: What was the thinking in sending quarterback Chris Turner loose three times in the first half when it placed him in a somewhat vulnerable position in open space?
Of course, the pocket wasn’t the safest place for him, either, given the six sacks he absorbed.
Anyway, this was offensive coordinator James Franklin’s take on my decision to broach the subject.
“It’s interesting you say that is the only reason I ran the quarterback is because the reporters and fans have been telling me for years I should be running the quarterback more with the option,” Franklin said. “Now I run him, and I get ‘He’s too valuable, we’re going to get him hurt.’ It’s interesting.”
(Don’t know how much of an uproar there’s been for that, but it’s fair to take Franklin at his word for what he’s encountered. But after covering Turner’s entire career, I’m pretty sure the thought ‘Maryland would be wise to have him run more’ hasn’t floated through my head. But I digress).
In any case, Franklin went on to give the sort of response to a playcalling-related question that you’d expect: The utterly harmless and reliable “do what it takes to win” reply.
“The biggest thing is this: We have to find a way to win the game,” Franklin said. “That’s all that really matters, and if we feel like that’s going to give us an advantage in certain situations [we’ll use it]. Do we have to overdo it? No we don’t. But if that’s going to give us an advantage or give us an opportunity to win the game or give us some positive yardage or get a hat on a hat and even the playing field where it’s 11-on-11, then we’ll do that from time to time.”
But how much? Was Saturday a sign of things to come, with Turner – a guy with some quickness, but clearly better in a traditional quarterback role than as a mobile option – getting a handful of carries a game?
Is it a response to a youthful offensive line that still needs a little help? Or could it be just an attempt to offer up something for opponents to think about.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if it’s all three, actually. Franklin, though, wasn’t about to tip his hand.
“Are we expecting Chris to lead us in rushing? No, we’re not,” Franklin said. “But I think we’re going to look for advantage in the game films and the schemes and things like that. It’s probably the question I got asked more for the last year and a half is ‘When’s the option going to happen? When’s this? When’s that?’ Well, we’ll see what happens.”