Steffy vs. Portis

TRACKING THE TERPS

The Kickoff

August 13, 2007|By HEATHER A. DINICH

Let's stick with what we know: Quarterbacks Jordan Steffy and Josh Portis can give Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen more options offensively, and he's looking forward to taking advantage of their athleticism this season.

After Saturday's scrimmage, though, Steffy had the edge when it came to executing the option.

"What disappointed me a little bit about Josh is we're running the option much better, but Jordan is running it better than he is, and that should be [Portis'] forte," Friedgen said. " ... I tell him, `You know, most of the people are going to make you hand the ball off,' but he wants to run it so bad he pulls it anyway. It will come eventually."

Portis, who is the faster of the two quarterbacks, said he just needs time and more repetitions.

"The option game is obviously a great strength of mine," he said. "I feel that it's different types of reads with the option game. Once I get more work on that, I could do a better job on that."

Still, Friedgen and quarterbacks coach John Donovan have said Portis is further along than where he was at the end of the spring.

Steffy said he was comfortable Saturday and that Friedgen was calling plays in a manner that allowed him to get into a rhythm. Steffy said he's practicing with the mind-set that he's the starter.

"If I focus on, `Oh, I have to keep this job and I'm worried about this and that,' eventually it's going to come up to haunt me," he said. "If I'm focused on getting better and Villanova [in the season opener Sept. 1], everything else will take care of itself."

As for Friedgen's overall evaluation of the top three quarterbacks Saturday, he said Portis played a little better than he has been practicing. Jordan made a few plays that weren't there, and Chris Turner "played the way he plays in scrimmages: He comes in and does a pretty good job."

So how close is he to naming his starter for the opener?

"I'm going to look at the film and see where we're at," Friedgen said. " ... I'm always going to try to play the best player."

heather.dinich@baltsun.com

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