O’Brien elected to transfer to Wisconsin, leaving Brown as the heir apparent for the job.
“It’s definitely weird not having Danny around,” Brown said. “We roomed together and hung out together. When we were going through the changes in the offense last year, we talked football. We’ve talked and texted since he left, but I haven’t heard from him lately. He’s busy and I’m busy now.”
Another factor in Brown’s favor is that he is the only quarterback with playing experience on Maryland’s roster. He tops the depth chart ahead of true freshmen Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe, putting a premium on Brown’s ability and health this season.
On the ability front, Edsall turned to Maryland’s new coordinator Mike Locksley to make Brown the focal point of the offense.
“We always develop our scheme based on what our quarterback’s strengths are,” Locksley said. “Obviously with C.J., one of his strengths is his speed. So we’ll continue to design our plays and our schemes based on what C.J. can do.
“He’s a sharp guy, obviously been well trained, and I think this is the third system he’s been in. I think that’s helped him, because he’s well versed in a lot of ways. For us on offense we’re pretty diverse and flexible. What we have to do is find out who the playmakers are around him, and get him to play smart as a quarterback.”
That ability to run has been a blessing and a curse for Brown. After connecting on just 82 of 166 passes (49.4 percent) for 842 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions, Brown’s ability to throw is in question. Part of that is because he rushed for 574 yards and five touchdowns.
People always look at the pluses and minuses,” Brown said. “I can throw the ball and I’m working on getting better at it. The more you work on something, the better you get at it.
“I have got to be myself. I can’t change. Knowing everything, it makes me stronger. I want to prove them all wrong.”
Spoken like a true “professional.”