Terps QBs come up short

The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK -- There were no rave reviews about Maryland's top two quarterbacks after the Terps' annual Red-White spring game yesterday at Byrd Stadium, but those within the program agreed that Jordan Steffy and Josh Portis fell short of their capabilities.

The white team, led by third-string quarterback Chris Turner, beat Maryland's top two signal callers, 27-10, in a rather lackluster game with a conservative offense. A handful of lesser-known reserves stole the spotlight, leaving something for others to prove this summer and positions still open - including quarterback.

"I'm going to continue to work those three guys and give them equal reps all summer and see who emerges at the end of summer and beginning of camp, and then we've got to make a decision," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "But today I was concerned how they played in a game-type atmosphere on their own. We had problems getting plays in and out, and that's got to get better. We've got to make plays when they're available. We didn't do that. And we were very tentative at times. I wasn't pleased with the way they played today. They can play better than that."

They have.

Steffy threw three interceptions in 14 spring practices but matched that number yesterday - despite sharing the playing time with four other quarterbacks. He completed seven of 12 passes for 80 yards and one touchdown, and was sacked three times.

"I'm not concerned at all," said Steffy, who carried the ball six times for a loss of a yard. " ... You want to get in a rhythm as a quarterback. When you go out and you have five different guys rotating in, it's difficult to do that."

Portis, whose 68-yard touchdown pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey was his biggest of the game, wasn't deterred by Friedgen's disappointment.

"Ralph's going to say what he wants to say," said Portis, who completed five of 12 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. "As a coach, he's a perfectionist. There are little things we need to work on, but if things don't go well, they put it back on us. We have some things to work on. It's all as a team, all as a unit."

Heyward-Bey led the Terps in receiving with 97 yards and one touchdown on two receptions. Morgan Green, who has had an impressive spring, was playing well before he left in the fourth quarter with a fractured collarbone. Green led the team in rushing with 92 yards on 19 carries.

Steffy redeemed himself for his final interception with a 32-yard touchdown pass to LaQuan Williams, who finished with five catches for 77 yards. It was his lone touchdown pass of the evening.

"Obviously the media is going to make the stories they want to make," Steffy said. "I don't think anybody has played bad. Josh is still learning. I'm trying to take things to the next level because I've been here longer and things like that. Until we go out there in the first game, the talk will continue."

Although he didn't score any points, Turner led the Terps with 115 yards on 11 of 15 passes.

It's points, though, that Friedgen is looking for.

"If you don't score points," he said, "you can't play quarterback."


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