The top of the Maryland football depth chart doesn’t have the ambiguity it did before the season opener against Texas, when Kasim Hill and Tyrrell Pigrome were both listed as starters at quarterback.
But while Hill stands alone on the depth chart entering this weekend’s game against Bowling Green, the reality isn’t as cut-and-dry.
After Hill was the primary passer and Pigrome rotated in for a handful of snaps mostly as a running threat, interim head coach Matt Canada said he will use both quarterbacks again this weekend.
“I thought both of them played well,” Canada said Tuesday. “Both of them did what we asked them to do. Both of them could have played better. Both of them had a throw here or there that we could have done better. We could have protected better at times.”
One play before Hill’s first-quarter 65-yard touchdown pass to Jeshaun Jones against Texas, the redshirt freshman targeted running back Ty Johnson down the right sideline. His pass was well underthrown, and Texas defensive back Kris Boyd — in perfect position to intercept it — let the ball slip through his grasp.
It was one example where Hill could have been sharper, and if Boyd had capitalized on the chance, it may have changed the game.
Still, the Terps have faith in Hill’s arm. Against the Longhorns, the Washington, D.C., native completed 17 of 29 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown.
“They had a hot start last year with [Hill] and once he got hurt, it kind of affected them a little bit,” Bowling Green coach Mike Jinks said Monday. “And I wouldn’t say that he’s a burner as far as running the football, but he’s more than capable of hurting you with his feet and his arm and he makes great decisions.”
Pigrome, meanwhile, went 3-for-4 through the air on Saturday, with his only incompletion coming when his throw to tight end Avery Edwards took him out of bounds. The redshirt sophomore ran for 12 yards on three attempts.
When Canada was offensive coordinator at Northern Illinois in 2011, he alternated between quarterbacks Chandler Harnish and Jordan Lynch. Harnish threw for 3,216 yards and ran for another 1,379. Lynch had 412 total yards, the majority of those coming on the ground.
Now at Maryland, Canada could configure a similar split.
“There’s things that Pig brings to the table. He had a couple good runs,” Canada said Saturday. “Quarterback runs are something that defensive staffs don’t like to see. So with that, and all the other things we do, I think that helps us.”
For a two-quarterback system to work, Canada needs to avoid mistakes like the one he made midway through the third quarter against Texas.
After Pigrome failed to convert on third down, the Terps kept their offense on the field and tried to switch quarterbacks. But Hill was late getting to the line, leading to a failed quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1. The Longhorns got the ball back at Maryland’s 36 and capitalized, scoring a quick touchdown to briefly take the lead.
Canada admitted after the game he should’ve called timeout rather than allow the play to start with the play clock running down.
So in the future, with Hill and Pigrome sharing the load at quarterback to some capacity, the Terps need to make sure they’re causing confusion for opposing defenses, rather than their own offense.
“Both of them added things … to our offense,” Canada said Tuesday. “We’re going to play the best players and they’re both going to play.”