COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — There will probably come a time in his future at Maryland when Shawn Petty plays a role in stopping the high-powered offense of Florida State.
On Saturday, however, Petty's objective is to attempt to put a dent in the Seminoles' formidable defense.
Because the Terrapins have already lost four quarterbacks to season-ending injuries, Petty — a converted linebacker — will run the Maryland attack in a third straight game. It's been a rocky transition for the true freshman, who has fumbled four times and thrown an interception in his two starts.
"I don't feel like I've played too well," Petty acknowledged Tuesday. "Turnovers is the main thing that's holding the offense back, and it's not really helping the defense, either."
With Petty calling the signals, Maryland (4-6, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost to Georgia Tech 33-13 before falling 45-10 at Clemson last week.
Now the 230-pounder is preparing to face the 10th-ranked Florida State (9-1, 6-1), which owns the nation's top-ranked defense (242.9 yards per game) and has held opponents under 10 points in five games.
Petty has no aspirations of throwing for five touchdowns. His objective is far simpler.
"Just don't turn the ball over," he said. "Whatever I have to do to get my team a win."
With dreadlocks, a husky frame and left-handed delivery, Petty does not look the part of a typical quarterback. He played the position in high school, but coach Randy Edsall drafted Petty as a linebacker.
Petty was headed toward a redshirt this year before quarterbacks C.J. Brown, Perry Hills, Devin Burns and Caleb Rowe went down with injuries. That made Petty the next man up, putting his development as a Division I linebacker on hold.
"He really had no choice," Edsall said. "It wasn't, "Shawn, would you do this?" It was, "Shawn, you're going to do it."
Petty was surprised — and delighted. Even though he's struggled at times and hasn't produced a victory, he's been having a blast.