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Terps new QB?

Coach addresses the question at Fountain Head

Coach addresses the question at Fountain Head

May 08, 2007|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

Who will emerge to take the place of departed quarterback Sam Hollenbach at the University of Maryland?

That's been the big question for Terps football coach Ralph Friedgen this spring.

Tens days after the Terps wrapped up spring practice with the annual Red-White game, the question remains unanswered.

Friedgen spoke to members of the Terrapin Club at Fountain Head Country Club on Monday night, but he never gave a certain answer as to who would take the snaps for the Terps when they open against Villanova on Sept. 1.

"We probably won't know until (this season)," Friedgen said. "Jordan (Steffy) was having a great spring - he threw three interceptions in 327 pass attempts - then he came out and threw three in the Red-White game. We're going to have to see more game-time scrimmages and evaluate from there."

A redshirt sophomore, Steffy has the most game experience for Maryland and was the slight favorite to take over the signal-calling duties. His good decision-making ability is what separated him from his counterparts, but it seemed to vanish with the three picks in the spring finale on April 28.

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"Sometimes, it's like they get in front of a crowd and everything they learned goes out the window and they go back to their natural instincts," Friedgen said.

Similar performances this summer will likely mean another year on the sidelines for Steffy and improve the chances of sophomore Josh Portis and redshirt freshman Chris Turner.

Portis, a transfer from Florida, completed 5 of 12 passes in the Red-White game and connected on a 68-yard touchdown pass to speedy wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Portis' 40-yard dash time of 4.5 seconds plays to his escape ability and, paired with Heyward-Bey's explosiveness, they have the potential to be a devastating combo for the Terps.

"Portis' strength is making plays on the move," Friedgen said. "He didn't really get a chance to do that yet because of limited contact in the practices."

Turner turned in an impressive 11-for-15 showing at the Red-White game and Friedgen insisted that he is a legitimate contender for the position. And while he is listed as a freshman, he has learned plenty without seeing game action.

"He's been in the program for three years, so he has a good (idea) of what we do," Friedgen said. "He's not as athletic as (Steffy or Portis), but he's got his mechanics down."

Friedgen also said he likes true freshman Jamarr Robinson, though he indicated he will need more time to learn the position at the next level.

Whoever emerges as the Terps' next starting quarterback, Friedgen noted that it is important that they all make progress. Because as Maryland showed last season, the Atlantic Coast Conference, like any other modern sports league, is subject to parity.

"Anybody can win on any given day," Friedgen said.

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