McBrien a quick study at QB college

September 09, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Last year, Scott McBrien spent the season getting used to The Program.

On Saturday, the time came for him to get with the program.

McBrien found himself back under center as the starting quarterback for the University of Maryland. It was his second game there, but his first week of working under Ralph's College of Quarterback Knowledge ... and it was a success.

McBrien bounced back from an inauspicious debut in last week's 22-0 loss to Notre Dame with a creditable performance in what might be considered a remedial level of coach Ralph Friedgen's offense on Saturday, leading the Terps to a 44-14 non-conference rout of Akron.

After last week's problems against the Irish, Friedgen vowed to put "tight reins" on the offense against Akron. It was a throwback to last season when Friedgen introduced a new system to last year's quarterback Shaun Hill.


Not only was it simplistic for McBrien in his three quarters of work, it was actually fun.

"Coach cut back the offense and allowed to really get back to basics again," said McBrien, who is starting this season after spending last as a redshirt after transferring from West Virginia. "It was just a chance to have fun and play backyard football."

McBrien engineered what as basically a run-oriented chapters of Friedgen's prospectus. Fifty of the Terps' 69 plays were on the ground. He hit on 9 of his 15 passes, mostly the ball-control variety, allowing McBrien to get the feel of the offense's ability to be efficient.

"We played a good game and ran the ball better," Friedgen said. "McBrien did a better job of his team management. He looked around and got more reads. He gave a chance to do things."

McBrien was put in the same class Hill was for the same reasons. Hill struggled in Maryland's opener last year, but still managed to defeat North Carolina. After that game, Friedgen elected to go to a basic running offense and slowly built and diversified the attack around Hill's growth and experience. It went from basic running game to option style, to short passing before the whole package was on display by midseason.

By then, Maryland was confident and on a roll.

"Watching Shaun last season and watching him run the offense last year was an honor," McBrien said. "I got to see how he ran a system and a team. I feel like they are doing the same thing with me now."

Maryland opened the game with 11 straight running plays - nine on the first drive, which resulted in a 2-yard scoring run by McBrien and two start the second scoring drive - before the ball was put in the air.

"When you get (all those running plays) in the first series, it takes a lot of pressure off of you," McBrien said. "It's just a matter of making the right calls at the line. I felt really confidient running it today."

Good timing too, especially since McBrien and the Terps' offense will get the second major test of the season next Saturday when Florida State comes to town to do the quizzing.

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