COLLEGE PARK -- Will John Kaleo start at quarterback for Maryland in the season opener against Virginia on Sept. 5, or will it be Scott Milanovich?
The decision may be announced Friday after the team holds two more scrimmages, one today and another Thursday. Both will be closed to the public and the media.
"I'm pleased with all three of our quarterbacks' progress," said Mark Duffner, Maryland's first-year coach who also included 6-foot-4, 213-pound sophomore Tony Scarpino, from Monroeville, Pa., in the derby. "Every practice one seems to nudge ahead of the other. They have done a pretty decent job. But I think, with two more scrimmages planned, we'll have a better idea Friday who will start."
Kaleo, a 5-foot-10, 202-pound senior from Bowie, seems to be the front-runner. Whenever the quarterback situation is mentioned to any of the coaches, his name always comes up first. He also has the most playing experience and his biggest assets are tailor-made for Duffner's run-and-shoot offense.
Kaleo took most of the repetitions with the first team in yesterday's morning practice. A number of the players say they believe Duffner is leaning toward Kaleo, too.
Kaleo had two long touchdown passes in Saturday's scrimmage, and he has the most mobility of the quarterbacks, which comes in handy for the three- to five-step drop back used in the run and shoot. Kaleo, backing up Jim Sandwisch, completed 19 of 55 passes last season for 268 yards and one touchdown.
Milanovich, a 6-4, 220-pound redshirt freshman, from Butler, Pa., is a drop-back passer. He was hailed as the next great Maryland quarterback in former head coach Joe Krivak's one-back set last season.
Duffner said both players performed well in the team's first scrimmage last Saturday. Quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen said Milanovich was the steadiest of the three Saturday.
"John made more big plays than Scott, but Scott was much more consistent. And Tony was the best pure passer of them all," Christensen said. "I think it's time to now focus on the top two, John and Scott, and let them continue to battle. We've only been through round 1, and there's about a total of five."
Duffner said he was pleased with the overall team play during the scrimmage, but acknowledged, "we have lots of work to do."
All starters hit books, too
For one of the few times in the past five years, the Maryland coaching staff won't have to worry about a starting player being academically ineligible for the season opener.
Duffner said yesterday he was concerned about one player whose name he declined to reveal. The player is believed to be Ken Green, a redshirt freshman and reserve inside linebacker.
Grades for the second session of summer school are expected to come out today and the appeals process will begin Thursday. The academic ineligibility list probably will be released Monday, according to a representative for the university's academic support group within the athletic department.
Ingram hurt, but not out, yet
Starting left offensive tackle Steve Ingram, a sophomore, missed practices yesterday because of a fractured left thumb, which was injured in Saturday's scrimmage.
Ingram is expected to get X-rays today, but he said he won't miss the opener against Virginia.
"Yes, I will play. Print that," said Ingram, possibly the Terps' best offensive lineman. If he can't play, Maryland will be down three linemen who started at one time or another last year. Sophomore tackle David Hack was declared academically ineligible and guard Dave deBruin has yet to pass a physical because of recurring knee problems.