March 5, 2013
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - As the quarterback situation in College Park turned from unfortunate to strange, then-freshman linebacker Shawn Petty became the starter for the Maryland football team against Georgia Tech.
Petty played on both sides of the ball and was an All-Met selection at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Md. As a quarterback, he threw for 1,300 yards and 15 TDs, and ran for 550 yards and 10 TDs. In his four starts for the Terps, Petty threw for 500 yards and six touchdowns and completed 39-of-84 passes.
With C.J. Brown returning from injury and Ricardo Young eligible to play, Petty is making the move back to linebacker. Just two practices into the spring, the sophomore is now trying to become a starter on the other side of the ball.
"I think he's done a good job," said head coach Randy Edsall. "He's making mistakes, but he's got a pretty good feel for what we're doing there. ... He's got a natural feel for the position, so hopefully he'll just keep progressing."
Flip-flopping from defense to offense and back hasn't been easy, but it speaks to Petty's competitive spirit and athleticism.
"What he had to do-- I don't know too many people that could do what he did," said Edsall. "He took it all in stride and went out and showed the kind of competitor he was. To go in and do that and not bat an eye, I was very proud of him."
As Petty adjusts back to his original position, the defense is working on replacing the productivity of graduated Terps' Joe Vellano, Demetrius Hartsfield and A.J. Francis. Even though it's early to forecast for next season, Petty is making strides to be a factor for the team.
"We're picking it up really fast," he said. "I feel really good out there. Once we get the pads back on, I think it's going to feel a lot better. You can't go full speed and hit somebody right now, but I feel really good right now."
Petty's biggest motivators include the teams that tried to take him down last year. Now back on the other side of the line, he's ready for payback.
"I've got to get my revenge for all the hits [the other teams] got on me last year," Petty said. "We play a lot of the same teams."