COLLEGE PARK — Perry Hills worked the entire summer to land the job as Maryland’s starting quarterback.
It took him two games — including one lopsided defeat — to drop to No. 3 on the depth chart.
Caleb Rowe has replaced Hills at quarterback for Saturday’s home matchup against USF (1-1). In addition, wide receivers D.J. Moore and Taivon Jacobs are slated to make their first college starts for Maryland (1-1).
It’s all part of coach Randy Edsall’s plan to revamp a passing game that struggled mightily in a 48-27 loss to Bowling Green last weekend.
“I didn’t think we were getting the things done in order for us to be who we need to be offensively,” Edsall said Tuesday. “By making the switch, it’s going to allow us to be a little bit more versatile and be able to put more pressure on the [opposing] defense.”
Oklahoma State transfer Daxx Garman will be the backup to Rowe, who will be making his fourth college start and his first since 2013.
“Caleb brings a lot of confidence. He has a very good arm,” Terrapins safety A.J. Hendy said. “I’m looking for him to stretch the field a little bit and help us in the passing game a lot.”
Rowe entered in the fourth quarter against Bowling Green and threw three passes, two of which were intercepted. Then again, everyone in the stadium knew he was going to put the ball in the air.
On Saturday, he starts from the outset, and with Moore and Jacobs stepping in for Amba Etta-Tawo and Malcolm Culmer.
“We’ve got to be able to throw the football,” Edsall said. “We’ve got to able to stretch the field vertically, we’ve got to be able to stretch it horizontally. D.J. has some qualities there that I think has allowed him to be put in over Amba. The same thing with Taivon. He’s got more speed than Malcolm.”
The defense, meanwhile, is in bounce-back mode after allowing 692 yards and six touchdown passes.
“We didn’t control the ball offensively,” Edsall said, “and conversely, we didn’t do a good enough job of getting off the field on third down when we had the opportunity on defense.”
Bowling Green went 8-for-18 on third down, ran 105 plays and controlled the ball for nearly 38 of 60 minutes.
“We’ve got to get back to the basics,” Hendy said. “When things aren’t going our way, we try to strain to do something outside of ourselves.”
The switch from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 isn’t to blame, according to Edsall.
“We can play any scheme that we want to play,” he said, “but if we don’t do our job well and don’t execute the fundamentals and the techniques, it doesn’t matter.”
Perhaps the most important facet of this week is how the Terrapins handle an embarrassing defeat at home.
“You can’t really change the fact that it’s happened. All you change is what we do from here,” said senior kicker Brad Craddock, one of the team leaders. “It’s done. Forget about it and move onto the next one and have a good game this week.”
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