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Terps' quarterback controversy continues

September 03, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Jordan Steffy's second stay as the University of Maryland's starting quarterback apparently has lasted one game.

Coach Ralph Friedgen didn't give the fifth-year senior the thumb. In a way, Steffy gave it to himself.

It started a situation that left Friedgen pointing his finger at the vast majority of Maryland fans who booed Steffy during last Saturday's 14-7 victory over Delaware.

"It's their right because they buy the tickets and they can do what they want," Friedgen said Tuesday during Maryland's weekly media conference. "But if they knew this person and the contributions he made to this program ... it speaks volumes about this kid.

"Would I like him to make some better decisions or throw some better passes? Sure. But this kid, to me, is the epitome of what we want in this football program. The perseverance, the courage, the toughness that this kid is going through, he has nothing but my admiration. I'd be proud if he was my son."

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The Steffy project was put on hold during the third quarter Saturday, though. Steffy apparently injured his right thumb by striking a Delaware helmet while throwing a pass. He struggled into the fourth quarter -- amid boos from the Maryland faithful -- until he was lifted for Chris Turner with 12 minutes remaining.

Steffy's chances of starting this week at Middle Tennessee State are very slim. Friedgen said the sore thumb has made it difficult for Steffy to take snaps and give handoffs.

"Because of the holiday, he didn't get X-rayed until (Tuesday) morning," Friedgen said. "He didn't practice on Monday and he probably won't practice (Tuesday) until we get the results. He's probably questionable for this weekend."

That has Maryland standing before the drawing board again.

The Terps started the preseason with a three-man race for the starting QB job. Steffy won the competition, beating out Turner, who took over as the starter last year after Steffy was injured in the fifth game of the season, and Josh Portis, the talented but raw darkhorse, in this passing derby.

With Steffy's injury, it starts again. Turner and Portis, who came in for four quarterback keep plays against Delaware, will be vying for the start while Jamarr Robinson will get some work to prepare for any emergency.

"I'm not sure right now," Friedgen said about who will start. "I've got to see how Chris practices this week and I'll see how Josh practices this week. I'm going to play the best guy that I feel can help us win the football game."

A lot will depend on which direction Maryland's offense would like to take with its new West Coast style. Turner is more of a classic pocket passer, while Portis has the reputation of being more mobile.

The state of Maryland's running attack could have a bearing on who plays. The Terps have four running backs with very little experience, even though Da'Rel Scott rushed for 196 yards in his debut against Delaware.

"We ran the ball better than I thought we would," Friedgen said. "But we didn't throw the ball as well as I thought we would."

The radical change in circumstances hasn't put a premature ending to Steffy's senior year.

"I want that guy to be in a foxhole with me," Friedgen said. "I can tell you this. Regardless of who plays this week or next week or whatever, Jordan will come in and win a game for us before the season is over. I promise you that."

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