The burning question surrounding the Maryland football team since the end of last season has been who will line up under center for the Terrapins against Texas.
While Head Coach DJ Durkin has made it clear that he has not made his choice, Saturday’s scrimmage offered a glimpse into the battle to become the starter for week 1.
[We’ll decide] sometime before the first series of the Texas game; look for the guy who is going to jog out there with the ones,” Durkin said.
However, it appears two of the four battling for the job have taken a lead over the competition. Returning sophomore Tyrell Pigrome and freshman Kasim Hill both took snaps with the first-team offense during Saturday’s scrimmage and at Friday’s practice, which was open to the media.
Last season, Pigrome appeared in 11 games and started one while Hill joined the Terrapins as a four-star prospect from St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C.
Pigrome, whose passes looked crisp during Friday’s practice, struggled to find a rhythm through the air at the scrimmage and threw only six times during the game. He completed three of those passes.
The worst of those attempts, a deep ball down the right sideline, was underthrown into double coverage and resulted in an interception by junior Darnell Savage Jr.
On the ground, Pigrome looked explosive and he showed good pocket awareness, being sacked only once after the pocket collapsed. On the play, he escaped the pocket and appeared to have a step on the defensive lineman pursuing him, but the coaches whistled the play dead.
Hill looked to have a balance of athleticism and pocket presence that is rare in a freshman quarterback. He completed five out of 10 passes on the day and showed a willingness to throw the ball away when facing pressure instead of trying to do too much.
Additionally, Hill made the throw-of-the-day when he hit his receiver 25 yards downfield while throwing on the run as he rolled left.
He also did a good job avoiding the pass rush, only being sacked once.
Hill’s biggest drawback on the day was his tendency to overthrow his receivers a few times during the day.
Sophomore Max Bortenschlager, who appeared in two games and made one start last season, took snaps with the second team offense during his time in the scrimmage.
Bortenschlager’s first possession was his best of the day; he threw a beautiful ball down the sideline that landed in the arms of freshman Tahj Capehart.
From there, his day did not improve. Bortenschlager lacked pocket awareness and was plagued by miscommunications with his teammates.
When it was all finished, Bortenschlager completed three of his seven throws, with three sacks and three false starts while he was under center.
The fourth player expected to compete for the starting quarterback job, Caleb Henderson who transferred from UNC before the 2016 season, has been out with an ankle injury and was seen wearing a boot at practice Friday.
“They’re all doing a good good job, I feel good about where we’re at with the position,” Durkin said. “We continue to put them in different situations in practice to see how they’re going to respond and handle it. They’re doing well, they’re competing. There’s good competition and I think they’re making each other better.”
With two weeks left, the time that Durkin and his staff will need to name their starter is quickly approaching, but he has a plan in place for choosing the starter.
“They’ll decide it on the field,” Durkin said.
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