Turner decides to stay as backup

Quarterback had considered transfer after losing his starting job

Maryland Football

August 21, 2008|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Sun reporter

COLLEGE PARK - Two days after losing the starting quarterback job he held for the last eight games of the 2007 season, Chris Turner has decided to remain at Maryland as Jordan Steffy's backup.

The decision was reached after Turner talked again yesterday with his parents in California and with Terps coach Ralph Friedgen.

An athletic department spokesman confirmed a report on ESPN.com that Turner was staying.

Neither Turner nor Friedgen was available for comment after afternoon practice.

John Turner told ESPN.com that his son had chosen to remain with friends and teammates rather than return home and possibly transfer to a West Coast school.

"He's not a quitter," his father said. "The reason why I wanted him to come home is my dad, his grandpa just passed away. When you go through a death, you kind of cling. ... We just wanted to be [a] family."

Earlier, Chris Turner had said he was leaning toward staying.

Turner, who took over as Maryland's quarterback when Steffy suffered a concussion against Rutgers in the fifth game last season, said he figures to get another chance but added that he is hoping that it doesn't come because of another injury to Steffy, his roommate.

"As a backup, my role is to prepare as a starter, in case the starter goes down," Turner said in his first public comments after the decision. "Last year I knew at some point I'd go in. The chances of a backup playing in a 13-game season are pretty high."

In 14 career games, including five starts last season, Steffy has thrown two touchdown passes and six interceptions. He has had two serious concussions and was forced to sit out the 2005 season after suffering the first one in 2004.

Steffy's play during this year's spring practice and preseason workouts - and Turner's lack of focus - led Friedgen to pick the fifth-year senior over Turner and fellow junior Josh Portis.

Turner had been more effective during games than Steffy. Though he had thrown as many interceptions (seven) as touchdowns in 11 games, Turner had helped the Terps beat a pair of top-10 teams, Rutgers and Boston College, in 2007. He threw for more than 200 yards seven times, including the last six games, and played well in a loss to Oregon State in the Emerald Bowl.

Friedgen said Turner has been sharper in practice since the starter was named.

"He's had his best practices," Friedgen said. "Kind of shows me something about the kid. If he was going to go in the tank, he would have. He hasn't."


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