Two days after vaguely alluding to injury as the reason for pulling quarterback C.J. Brown from the Terrapins football team’s 34-10 loss at Wake Forest, coach Randy Edsall confirmed as much in his weekly press conference yesterday.
“It wasn’t performance-related,” Edsall said. “It was health-related.”
But Edsall remained silent on who the Terps’ starting quarterback will be Saturday against Clemson — Brown and Caleb Rowe were listed as co-starters Monday night — and Brown wouldn’t elaborate on any type of injury he might have suffered.
Saturday was Brown’s first game back after suffering a concussion at Florida State on Oct. 5.
“Going into the game, I felt really good,” Brown said. “Obviously, I took some hits in the game early, and Coach made his decision. We’ll go out this week like any other week. I’m still getting treatment on a lot of things and trying to take care of my body. That’s the biggest thing.”
Brown played just more than a half of Saturday’s game, completing 15 of 24 passes for 137 yards. His two first-half interceptions led to two Wake Forest touchdowns as the Demon Deacons built a 24-3 halftime lead.
Rowe threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Levern Jacobs on his second play in the third quarter to bring the Terps to within 14 points. He finished 12-of-27 for 207 yards.
“Caleb did his job,” Jacobs said. “He stepped in … and he did what he had to do. He put us in the best position to win at that time. I couldn’t ask for more after what Caleb did out there, and I know anybody that’s in there is going to try to get the job done.”
Edsall’s biggest concern appears to be the health of his players. Edsall said both Rowe and Brown are cleared to practice and play this week, but if he thinks a player isn’t at 100 percent, he doesn’t plan on playing him.
“I think it’s my duty and it’s my obligation to watch all of our players perform in practice, perform in games, using my eyesight to see how they’re performing,” Edsall said. “And if they’re not performing up to the standards due to health-related issues, I think I owe it to those young men to say that I’m not sure you can end up doing the things you’re capable of doing on the field.”
The Terps will release an injury report Thursday evening that could shed some more light on Brown’s situation. But for now, he’s approaching this week with the idea that he’ll start and return to his early-season form when he was racking up yards both through the air and on the ground.
“With the situation, I’m just going to go out and do what I do,” Brown said. “I can’t worry about it. As many reps as [Edsall] gives me, that’s the ones I’m going to take advantage of. I’m going to go out there like I am the starter, like I’ve been out there the past — how many practices I’ve been out there. I’m just going to play the best I can and do things to get better.”
Saturday was Rowe’s third appearance this season and second in relief of Brown. He won his only start against Virginia on Oct. 12, leading a game-winning touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter.
So if Brown can’t play Saturday, Edsall and the Terps know they have a reliable option at quarterback. But in the end, it all comes down to how Edsall feels about his players’ health.
“As the coach, I think it’s my responsibility to watch guys, see how they move, see how they’re doing things during the week or in the game based on if something happens,” Edsall said. “If I feel like they could put themselves in jeopardy, then I think I owe it to those young men, and I owe it to our program, to have somebody else go in and play.”