The season was about to start and the plans for Maryland's season opener at California last September were becoming more concrete.
True freshman Dexter McDougle was very much part of them.
He'd met with multiple assistants, as well as coach Ralph Friedgen. Now it was just a matter of talking over the decision with his family.
And it changed things.
"At one point, they had asked me to burn my shirt, and I was for it," McDougle said. "I was going to do some punt returning and coach was saying I could get in on some nickel packages. But I talked to my dad about it and he said it would probably be a better decision and probably better for the team in the long run to redshirt and just come out the next year and be ready to play."
Thus, Maryland wound up using 10 true freshman a year ago rather than 11. And McDougle, who finds himself in a competition with Trenton Hughes for a starting cornerback spot, has four years of eligibility remaining rather than three.
In retrospect, it was a wise move for other reasons. McDougle was a safety in high school, and changing positions meant the need to familiarize himself with the nuances of playing cornerback.
"I wanted to learn more of the corner position, because I haven't played it in high school," McDougle said. "I was getting thrown in and learning [it], so I felt like I should take that year to learn, get better and then come out the next year."
Not that there weren't momentary misgivings.
McDougle made every road trip as an emergency option, so he was never too far from actually getting on the field. And sometimes, seeing a teammate make a play or the entire defense get excited prompted one understandable impulse --- rushing onto the field to join in.
"When you make the commitment to redshirt, and you're still traveling and you go out there, you're in the stadium and everybody's rocking and everybody's hyped, you're like 'Forget redshirting. I'm getting out there. I don't care. I don't care about redshirting. I want to play,'" McDougle said. "Then you have to think about the long run."
The long run, though, has arrived. McDougle figures to be part of whatever concrete plans Maryland has for this year's season opener, as well as the next three.
And so it would seem in McDougle's case that father knows best --- for both his son and his son's program.