Maryland football

QB questions remain after spring game

Friedgen `a little bit' concerned about position

April 27, 2008|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Sun reporter

COLLEGE PARK -- The Ravens are not the only local football team with quarterback issues.

And, perhaps, a quarterback controversy going into the season.

While the Ravens added Delaware's Joe Flacco to the mix in this year's NFL draft, the Maryland Terrapins have a logjam of steady if unspectacular signal-callers. Exactly who will be the starter come August wasn't established during the annual Red-White spring game yesterday at Byrd Stadium.

Jordan Steffy, trying to reclaim the position he lost to Chris Turner after suffering a concussion against Rutgers on Sept. 29, was perhaps the most productive of a group that also included Turner, Josh Portis and Jamarr Robinson in helping the White to a 27-3 victory.

Playing for both teams, Steffy completed 14 of 23 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown to Steve Pfister, a walk-on fullback from Columbia (Mount St. Joseph). Turner was 6-for-8 for 91 yards, and Portis, still trying to grasp the offense, was 3-for-6 for 9 yards.

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen was not exactly enthusiastic about their collective performance yesterday.

"I really didn't think any of them had the day I was hoping for," Friedgen said. "I'm looking for some guy to separate, and I really can't see that right now. I wish it was that easy. I'm hoping we got one."

Asked whether it was a concern, Friedgen said, "A little bit."

Steffy acknowledged that the setting of a spring game is not the optimum situation for a quarterback to make big plays.

"It's tough because we're not running all our stuff," Steffy said. "I'm not really concerned about separation and all that stuff. I'm just out here competing and playing football."

Turner, who played well last season after Steffy was hurt, seemed to have a headset on more than a helmet yesterday.

"It was just the way the rotation worked out," Turner said. "It's not necessarily a bad thing. It's only fair for them to have that approach. The only reason I played [last year] was because Jordan got hurt. Do I feel like I should have momentum, I should have a leg up? Sure, but that's just not the reality of it."

As for Portis, those who have been waiting to see the Florida transfer make an explosive play - with his feet or arm - are still waiting. If Portis doesn't think he will get a chance at quarterback next season, would he consider asking to be moved to another position?

"I don't think that's a possibility," said Portis, who was suspended last season because of an honor code violation. "This is what I love to do. The thing about playing quarterback is that you touch the ball every time. Playing quarterback is a tough position. It's not about how good you are, it's about leadership and the intangibles that come with the position."

First-year offensive coordinator and assistant head coach James Franklin, who has also taken over as the quarterbacks coach, said the strength of the position might not be at the top but throughout a depth chart that also includes Robinson, who went 7-for-7 with two touchdowns against third-stringers.

"Right now I think we have a good situation," Franklin said. "We're complaining because we don't have one guy that stepped up to the job and [said], `The job is mine,' but on the same hand, it's better than being in a situation where you don't have any quarterbacks."

don.markus@baltsun.com

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