— There is a lot of interest among Maryland football fans about who the No. 2 quarterback will be this season, in part because there are still some doubts about the consistency and passing ability of the team's returning starter, junior C.J. Brown.
While Brown has shown some improvement in those areas from where he was last fall, when he twice replaced former Terp star Danny O'Brien as the starter, the development of his two freshman backups remains under scrutiny as Maryland gets ready for its season opener Sept. 1 against William & Mary .
But there does not seem to be much debate about who will get the job. Second-year Maryland coach Randy Edsall said after Tuesday's morning practice at Byrd Stadium that Perry Hills has moved ahead of fellow freshman Caleb Rowe on the depth chart behind Brown.
"There's a little bit of separation as of the scrimmage [last Saturday]," Edsall said. "Right now Perry is the No. 2 guy … he's a little bit ahead. I would say that the overall command and presence on the field, in terms of running everything and not making as many mental mistakes put him ahead."
Brown is in a different position than he has been since coming to Maryland.
"I was in their position once, fighting for a spot, I know what they're going through," Brown said. "They've got to keep their spirits up and keep going through it because it's tough, coming in here and learning a college playbook. You've got to keep fighting through it. I can definitely relate."
Hills appears to be the best passer among the three quarterbacks on the roster, but Brown has made strides in what was certainly his weakest area last season. Brown still struggles with his consistency, as he showed Tuesday.
After looking sharp during a red-zone drill by threading a touchdown pass to senior tight end Matt Furstenburg and displaying nice touch, lofting a short throw into the end zone to another senior tight end, Devonte Campbell, Brown struggled in a 7-on-7 drill later.
Brown got chewed out by first year offensive coordinator Mike Locksley for being late on one throw, overthrew two receivers on successive plays, then nearly got picked off by linebacker L.A. Goree. Brown, who became the clear starter when O'Brien transferred to Wisconsin, said that he is getting comfortable with the offense Locksley installed.
"I'm much farther than I thought I would be, but I put in the hours in the film room," Brown said. "I'm where I need to be. I need to keep growing, keep continuing to learn the offense and pick Locks' mind."
ROBINSON INJURES OTHER SHOULDER
Sophomore safety Matt Robinson (Atholton), whose 2011 season was cut short when he dislocated his right shoulder, sustained an apparent injury to his left shoulder in one of the early drills Tuesday. Robinson remained on the sidelinebut appeared to be having some discomfort. Robinson was held out of practice Tuesday night.
"The only thing that I saw was that we were thudding [some but not full contact] and he went in and he was doing the things he was supposed to, but I didn't see if was using the proper technique or if it was just one of those freak things," Edsall said. "We don't know what the severity is or what the problem is right now."
Edsall said that if Robinson is sidelined for any length of time, true freshmen Sean Davis and Anthony Nixon will get a chance to run with the first team defense. Sophomore Clarence Claiborne, a transfer from Bowie State, as well as redshirt freshman Undray Clark, might also get some reps.
"Those two young guys stepped up and did some things," Edsall said. "Now, can they maintain that and can they get better being in that position? As I told the team as well, there were some guys that might be a little down, if somebody gets hurt, you're back in there and if somebody gets hurt, that's why you compete all the time. Sean and Anthony moved up but that doesn't mean Clarence or Andre can't go back and win it."
Edsall said that he is not considering returning safety Kenny Tate, who is back after suffering a knee injury while playing linebacker last season, to the position where he was an all-ACC player two years ago.
TERPS GET TIGHT END COMMITMENT
Andrew Isaacs, a 6-3, 230-pound tight end from Manchester, Conn., has committed to Maryland after decommitting from Boston College, the Terrapin Times reported Tuesday. Isaacs is rated to be in the top 10 at his position in the country and runs a 4.6 40.