One thing was made abundantly clear following Kasim Hill’s injury on Saturday afternoon against UCF. This team needs a dynamic quarterback to be a winner.
The worst of fears about the extent of Hill’s injury were realized on Tuesday, as head coach D.J. Durkin announced Hill had suffered a season-ending ACL tear. He suffered the injury after throwing just one pass for 8 yards in the first quarter of the game.
UCF was going to be Hill’s stiffest test on defense, but he never had a chance to get going as this injury happened so suddenly and so early in the game.
Durkin let us know that Hill’s character was already shining through in this tough situation while addressing the media on Tuesday.
“He’ll bounce back,” said Durkin “He’s got a bright future in football both here and beyond. I think that’s pretty clear. That guy’s a phenomenal talent and that doesn’t even compare to the type of person he is. He’s got a great attitude about it, he’s looking this thing right in the face saying let’s go get it. He’ll have surgery, rehab and be back with us when time allows.”
On Saturday, junior Max Bortenschlager stepped up in Hill’s place. Let’s just say there is a reason he was third on the depth chart heading in to the season.
Bortenschlager isn’t that dynamic quarterback Maryland needs to be successful to say the least, throwing for just 132 yards and a touchdown to two interceptions against the Knights on Saturday.
Sure, he didn’t have the luxury of a full-week of game prep, but he’s been the backup quarterback since Week 1 and should’ve been ready to go in to the game. He’s also had plenty of experience coming off the bench and being part of a quarterback rotation prior to this weekend.
The problem is, Maryland’s formula for winning this season has largely been based off of a dynamic quarterback who can keep defenses honest, run the ball and thus allow the rest of the running backs room to roam too.
Now what for the Terps offense and the 2017 season?
It is time for Walt Bell to totally re-think his offensive scheme going forward. Whether it is Bortenschlager or even Caleb Henderson taking the snaps going forward, both are better suited as pocket passers than spread read-option first quarterbacks.
It’s like the Terps have to flip their offensive 180 degrees and must do so with no time to prepare ahead of the Big Ten season.
Maryland’s saving grace here? Well, it may be in the fact that having to go through quarterbacks like it is going out of style is actually old hat for them. This weekend will mark the fourth time in six seasons that the Terps have had to start three different quarterbacks in the same season.
Is it any wonder they haven’t been successful in the past, and seem to be dead in the water for 2017 too?
We’ll see if the run game is enough to carry this team to bowl eligibility, because the Terps defense seems unable to stop anyone so far this season.
But, it is hard to see Hill’s injury as anything but completely devastating to Maryland’s chances of contending at all in 2017.