COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien made quite a first impression on new coach Randy Edsall over the winter.
Edsall had gathered the players together for the first time after being named to replace Ralph Friedgen as the Terrapins’ head coach. At one point during the meeting, Edsall asked if anyone had any questions. O’Brien raised his hand.
“Coach, I have two questions for you,” O’Brien said. “When are you hiring the offensive coordinator? And when am I getting a playbook?”
Even though the staff that had recruited, tutored and nurtured him wasn’t coming back, O’Brien only wanted to look ahead, to figure out what he needed to do next.
“I knew right then and there that I had a special guy,” Edsall recalled. “When he is going to ask those questions and those are his two major concerns, I knew he was pretty special then. There are a lot of guys who have the ability, but they won’t put in the time and effort in terms of preparation from a mental standpoint. And Danny is one of those guys, he’s a gym rat. He always wants to know what is going on. He is always watching the film. He just got accepted into the business school at Maryland. The guy has got the whole package.”
As a redshirt freshman, O’Brien led Maryland to a 7-3 record in 10 starts, threw for 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns against only eight interceptions. He was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Rookie of the Year. He finished off his campaign with a 13-for-22 passing performance for 181 yards and a touchdown in the Military Bowl, leading Maryland to a 51-20 victory over East Carolina and a 9-4 final record.
O’Brien didn’t have — or want — much time to celebrate his accomplishments from 2010. Not with a new coaching staff coming in, with new ideas, new requirements, new terminology.
“This is the new team and we’ve kind of adapted to that. It’s the new era of Maryland football,” he said. “Now it’s full speed ahead. That whole process has kind of settled down now. At the end of the day – no matter who’s here – you have to go out and play the game and that’s what’s it’s all about.”
After all his accomplishments last season, O’Brien has seen his name splashed all over the preseason college football magazines.
He’s already being touted as a potential ACC Player of the Year and a possible All-American. But he hasn’t let the preseason hype become a distraction, either.
“What I did – what we did – last year is all over,” he said. “You can’t use that for the 2011 season. If I’m not putting all my attention towards that, I think I’m cheating my teammates.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)