COLLEGE PARK, Md. - After C.J. Brown tore his ACL just prior to the start of the 2012 season, he hoped he would have a chance to make up the lost time.
Brown and the Maryland football team got a speedy answer after the NCAA approved his medical hardship waiver just two weeks after submitting the paperwork. Brown now has two remaining seasons of eligibility.
“It’s exciting,” said Brown. “I didn’t think I’d be hearing back this early since we just finished the paperwork. It’s a good sign.”
Brown has competed in individual and 7-on-7 drills this spring in a limited capacity. He expects to be 100 percent when practice begins in August, but for now, head coach Randy Edsall is more than happy with his progress.
“I think he’s made tremendous progress from the first day he came out and did 7-on-7,” said Edsall. “He was very tentative and he wasn’t driving off that back leg. You could see today, it was like night and day from the first day he did 7-on-7 to now. He’s got that confidence back and you can see that he’s been studying and working and he does things that you want out of a quarterback.”
Brown, known for being a running quarterback, has used the spring to work on the passing game. In practice yesterday, he completed 10 of 15 passes in 7-on-7 drills.
“Getting out here and taking the physical reps — I’ve been taking mental reps for so long, it feels good to get back out here and get my mind acclimated with my body,” said Brown. “That’s the biggest change. I’m mentally there; I’m seeing everything I need to see. I just need to get my body to go with my mind.”
Edsall intends on starting Brown going into the preseason and relies on him for leadership. Ricardo Young and Dustin Dailey have been taking snaps through the spring, but neither has played in a collegiate game before.
“C.J.’s been through it,” Edsall said. “He’s been around. Experience is your best teacher, and you can’t sacrifice experience. Being in the huddle, the maturity, everything else … when you have a guy who’s been around like C.J. and has the mind-set like he does, it’s comforting as a coach. You just watch the way the kid’s worked since it’s happened. You talk about someone who wants it real bad. He’s worked his tail off to get himself back.
The Terps only have Friday’s spring game left, and Brown hopes it’ll be the last time he has to sit out.
“I’ll be hanging out on the sideline, being a cheerleader,” he said. “One last time.”