In a move that came as a surprise to no one, quarterback Danny O'Brien has decided to leave Maryland and leave a trail of uncertainty in his wake.
Since Randy Edsall became the Terrapins head coach, 24 players with eligibility remaining have left the program, including 12 since the season ended. Those 12 players have taken 48 starts with them and a lot of the meager confidence Edsall had from the fanbase as the Terrapins leader.
"I'm disappointed by Danny's decision," coach Randy Edsall said in a statement released by the school. "Danny told me that he's not committed to our program, that he's not 'all in.' I want what's best for all of our players. Danny wants a fresh start elsewhere. I wish him well."
Not sure why Edsall is so disappointed. He set O'Brien's transfer in motion against Georgia Tech back in October when he benched the 2010 starting quarterback in favor of C.J. Brown, who is now the only quarterback on the roster with any experience.
Benching O'Brien displayed a lack of confidence in a quarterback that helped lead Maryland to a 9-4 record under former coach Ralph Friedgen and earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors. And Edsall never did anything to really help O'Brien get that confidence back. In fact, he did just the opposite by telling the Washington Times in November that he should have minimized the expectations on O'Brien from the start.
"Again, I think sometimes that expectations on young people can make it tough as well," Edsall told the paper. "Maybe I didn't do a good enough job of minimizing expectations for him. So again, I think those are things we all can learn from. The only thing that you can do is go out and do your best. Some days, you're going to be good. Some days, you're not going to be good."
O'Brien responded like any competitor by saying that he placed high expectations on himself. That retort made it clear that a rift was growing between player and coach even though O'Brien remained positive in his public comments about Edsall and the competition with Brown.
Even though O'Brien threw for a paltry 1,648 yards with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season, he'll be one of the hot commodities in the transfer market. One possible destination for the redshirt sophomore is Vanderbilt. O'Brien went to Maryland because of offensive coordinator James Franklin, who is now the head coach of the Commodores. The Baltimore Sun also noted that Wisconsin, Stanford and Michigan State also could use an established quarterback. O'Brien is on track to graduate this spring, which would mean he could enroll at a new institution for grad school and, per NCAA rules, be eligible to play right away.
As for Maryland, which also lost offensive lineman Max Garcia and linebacker Mario Rowson on Monday, the future is beginning to look bleak. Not only has there been a mass exodus from Edsall's reign, he also told a radio station back in November that he considered Maryland — a team that was 9-4 when he took over and returned several players from that squad — a rebuilding project, which didn't sit well with anyone.
Edsall was already on thin ice heading into the 2012 season and O'Brien's transfer just certainly hasn't helped. If Maryland can't manufacture a miracle in 2012, he might be on his way out the door.