Terps QBs pose triple threat

No No. 1, but McCall, Hill and Harrison all impress

April 13, 2000|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- And down the stretch they come in a three-way duel for the starting quarterback job at Maryland.

It's returning starter Calvin McCall on the inside, with strong-armed Latrez Harrison gaining on the outside and highly regarded junior college transfer Shaun Hill hanging tough in the middle as they head to the finish line.

And the winner is?

"It's too close to call," said Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden yesterday before he sent his team through a final workout in preparation for tomorrow's annual Red-White spring game at Byrd Stadium at 7 p.m.

"Latrez, Calvin and Shaun are all playing well and giving us better quarterback play than any time since I've been here," said Vanderlinden, who heads into his fourth season next fall.

McCall started nine games as a redshirt freshman last year and directed the team to a 5-4 record before he went down with a season-ending knee injury. He recovered quickly and played as a reserve on the Terps' basketball team.

"Basketball helped Calvin," said Vanderlinden. "I see him as a more assertive player now."

McCall missed just five days of the 15-day spring practice schedule because of basketball, and it was thought he would come out of practice with the No. 1 position. But it hasn't happened -- or at least Vanderlinden isn't ready to make his decision public.

When pressed yesterday, Vanderlinden said, "Anything I say would only [create controversy]."

The 6-foot-3, 222-pound Harrison came to College Park from Atlanta last fall with raves about his ability to throw long distances.

But Harrison never really received a chance to show off that arm last season as he played mostly in mop-up roles behind a second-string offensive line and then got hurt in his only start, against Florida State's national champions.

"Latrez has learned so much over the past year," said Vanderlinden. "He knows where to go with the ball now. He throws with a lot more touch. All strong-armed quarterbacks go through that."

And what about the 6-3, 229-pound Hill, a transfer from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College?

"Everybody was anxious to see what he could do, and he's lived up to all our expectations," said Vanderlinden. "We're not surprised at all with him. We've seen his abilities on tape and knew he was too good to pass up. Also, he played in a system similar to ours at Hutchinson."

NOTE: Heisman Trophy candidate LaMont Jordan is "progressing on schedule academically," said Vanderlinden. Jordan missed spring practice to concentrate on his academics but will be on hand tomorrow night at 6 to sign autographs at a FanFest program on the Byrd Stadium turf.

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