Philadelphia, PA – A brown-out is a condition of lower than normal power line voltage being supplied by your local utility or generator.
In College Park, less than normal power, could mean a lost season for Randy Edsall and the Terrapins.
A familiar foe has reared its ugly head in the form of the injury bug, as starting quarterback C.J. Brown suffered a torn ACL on Tuesday and is lost for the season.
Year one of the Edsall era was not exactly the stuff that dreams are made of, unless of course those dreams are nightmares. Maryland moved on from Ralph Friedgen and brought in Edsall from UConn, with the hopes of breathing new life into the program. However, a 2-10 debut was not what anyone envisioned when the move was made. A ton of injuries definitely played a part in Maryland's dismal campaign and it doesn't look like much has changed in 2012.
"I just feel really, really bad for C.J.," said Edsall. "To see the work he's put in for this season go away with one cut, one cut in a non-contact drill, a cut that he's made thousands of times, it's just devastating.
"It was a situation where we were running a two-minute drill and he broke through the pocket, was running down field and went to make a cut. As I said, it's a cut he's made thousands of times. It just so happens that this time his knee didn't hold up and he had the torn ACL. Again, injuries are part of football. We feel very, very bad about this, but now we have to move forward."
Brown started five games in 2011 and although he wasn't the sharpest of passers, his ability to move the chains with his legs (575 rushing yards, five TDs) and his experience under center is what pushed him to the top of the depth chart for 2012. With the transfer of 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year Danny O'Brien to Wisconsin, Edsall is left with no experienced signal caller and just 2 weeks until the start of the season.
True freshmen Perry Hillis and Caleb Rowe will now be forced into action, while Devin Burns, who originally was a quarterback and moved to wide receiver, will transition back to the QB position and serve as a backup. Right now, Hillis, a 6-foot-2, 205-pounder out of Pittsburgh, has the slight edge in this abbreviated competition and is likely to get the start week one against William & Mary.
New offensive coordinator Mike Locksley already had his work cut out for him with only five starters returning to the offensive side of the football for Maryland and that was prior to the injury to Brown.
This is a team that was going to need to lean on a veteran defense, especially early on and that need has now been magnified 10-fold.
The silver lining (if there is one) is that new defensive coordinator Brian Stewart has a lot of toys to play with, with 10 starters returning. Potential All-American talent in the front seven comes in the form of seniors Joe Vellano (DT), Kenny Tate (LB) and Demetrius Hartsfield (LB) and sophomores Keith Bowers (DE), Andre Munroe (DE) and L.A Goree (LB).
Another perceived positive is an early schedule that begins with William & Mary, Temple and Connecticut. Those are winnable games, even for an inexperienced quarterback and could go a long way in preparing both Hillis and Rowe for what is to follow, a brutal gauntlet the rest of the way, where victories will be extremely hard to come by.
Still, Edsall needs to rally the troops and keep the team moving forward in the light of Brown's injury.
"It's disappointing for C.J., but the excitement we have and the kind of practices we have been having the last few days and the things that are taking place haven't hampered anything," said Edsall. "We are disappointed and upset that this injury has occurred to C.J. but none of the expectations, enthusiasm, or excitement that we have for this season have been taken away from us."
Just a few days ago, the coaches and players alike thought that the sky was the limit for this team.
With the season-ending injury to Brown however, the reality is that the ceiling in College Park is now much, much lower.