Friedgen gives Statham edge to start at QB

August 18, 2004|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen wouldn't come right out yesterday and say that sophomore quarterback Joel Statham would be his starter for the Terps' Sept. 4 opener against Northern Illinois.

He did, however, make it clear that Statham is so much further along than his other three quarterbacks that unless something drastic happens, Statham is going to be his guy.

"He's just way ahead of the others right now," Friedgen said. "I'm not willing to commit to [Statham starting] right now, but I can't see one of the other guys overtaking him. I do want to wait and see how things go in the last scrimmage, but right now I'm very pleased with Joel."

Statham won the job during the spring after outplaying Sam Hollenbach and Ryan Mitch, but Friedgen reopened the competition after Statham threw three interceptions in the first half of the spring game.

"I just see Joel playing far better than he was in the spring," Friedgen said. "He's seeing so many things now. My main concern with young guys is that they can't see. Every now and then, he'll have a day where he's not as accurate as I'd like him to be, but he's getting past that. I think it's a maturity thing."

Friedgen said that he's been pleased with the way both Mitch and freshman Jordan Steffy have been playing, but that both are still well behind Statham.

NOTE: Sophomore wide receiver Greg Powell, a walk-on from Annapolis High School, was found not guilty yesterday of assaulting two Ocean City police during a run-in at a hotel during Senior Week, according to the Associated Press.

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