This season, the Terps find themselves using the Juicy Fruit method at quarterback – double the pleasure, double the fun – and for their sake, hopefully more than double the wins.
Redshirt freshman Danny OBrien is not the starting quarterback for the Maryland Terrapins football team. Going into the year, there was no inclination of even how much time hed even see on the field. But after tossing three touchdowns on his first three career passes as a Terp, as well as making the entire fan base hold their breath when he suffered an ankle injury, OBrien has engraved himself as a critical part of the Terps quarterback plans in 2010.
Theres something about the six-foot-three, North Carolina native that really catches the attention of the Maryland coaching staff, his offensive coordinator James Frankin especially. Maybe its his good grades? Maybe its because of him calm, cool demeanor? Or maybe its because of his passion for football.
Franklin told a story about OBriens time at East Forsyth High School – how he prepared like a college quarterback back then. He, along with his head coach at the time, Todd Willert, would break down game films and really soak in the experience.
[OBrien and Willert] kind of prepared like college coaches. They would come in on Saturday, and he would buy breakfast or lunch, and they would sit and watch the film together, Franklin said. He was kind of a football junkie. He loves the game; he loves to study it.
But when you love a game like football, theres nothing better than actually getting the opportunity to play. And as the quarterback of a team, you have the ball in your hands every play. You control the entire offense.
More often than not, guys like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are who we think of when we think of the top quarterbacks in the game today. And whats Manning so notorious for? Film study – a prime method of learning all there is to know about the Xs and Os of the game. Like that of Manning, OBrien too has a keen interest in the game.
All of his preparation and how easy the game came to him – concepts, coverages and why – some guys have [it], some guys dont. He has it, and a lot of guys have to work for it, Franklin said of OBrien, who used to send him text messages during meetings asking questions that made the other quarterbacks in the room say wow.
It was like chess – he was already two steps ahead, he added.
On the field, OBrien carries himself that Joe Cool style – Franklin had trouble trying to find times when his young quarterback got rattled. Fortunately, he proved OBrien human – he was pissed about the fumble during the Navy game. But most of the time, Franklin described him:
Hes pretty consistent. Hes very positive. Hes very happy. Hes very poised. Hes very confident. Hes got that.
But what impressed his quarterbacks coach the most? Coming into practice every day with a goal in mind: to be the starting quarterback for the Terps. Despite all the hype surrounding Robinsons first year as the starter, OBrien didnt let articles or press conferences get in his way. No, he had other plans.
It takes maturity and it takes discipline to say, Im going to come every day and Im going to prepare like a starter. Im going to outwork those guys every single day and I might not play for another three years. But Im going to come every day and play, Franklin said.
The next test for OBrien will be the No. 21-ranked team in the country, the West Virginia Mountaineers. For OBrien, it will be his first matchup against a ranked team, and it will of course be on the road in midst of a roaring Morgantown crowd.
Im sure OBriens game.