QB Picture Is No Clearer After Terps’ Spring Game
Maryland Terrapins Coach Ralph Friedgen is known for his emphasis on certain statistics and his disregard for others. One of his favorites, and perhaps the most important for this year’s spring camp, involves quarterbacks.
“If you don’t score points, you can’t play quarterback,” he said.
Judging by that standard, the Terrapins’ quarterback battle remained crowded as none of the three candidates turned in a distinguishing performance at the Red-White spring game yesterday.
For the record, the White team, composed mainly of backups, beat the Red team, composed of starters, 27-10, before a crowd of about 9,300 at Byrd Stadium. But in the evening’s most important development, the three men vying to be Maryland’s starting quarterback settled nothing.
Junior Jordan Steffy, the most experienced signal-caller on the roster, threw for 80 yards on 7-of-12 passing and was sacked three times, never finding a rhythm. He threw three interceptions — on a desperation pass before halftime, on a ball tipped by the intended receiver and on an underthrown pass toward the sideline. His only touchdown pass came with 4 minutes 9 seconds left in the fourth quarter, when he hit reserve wide receiver LaQuan Williams for a 32-yard strike while guiding the White team.
“That’s not a good situation,” Friedgen said. “I think we’ve got to play better at quarterback.”
Josh Portis, the Florida transfer, fired a 68-yard touchdown pass to Darius Heyward-Bey. But what the box score won’t reveal is that cornerback Anthony Wiseman fell down, leaving Heyward-Bey unimpeded. It was the only touchdown scored by the first team. Portis threw an interception to linebacker Alex Wujciak and went 5 of 12 for 104 yards.
Chris Turner, whose emergence during spring practice created a three-man race, went 11 for 15 for 115 yards. Playing only with the White team, Turner threw an interception and failed to lead his team into the end zone.
In total, Steffy, Portis and Turner combined to lead drives for two touchdowns and three field goals. Meantime, true freshman Jamarr Robinson threw a first-half touchdown pass.
Wujciak (10) and linebacker Dave Philistin (11) led the game in tackles while linebacker Erin Henderson’s nine tackles was tops on the White team.
“We have a lot to do,” said Wujciak, who is competing with Chase Bullock for the middle linebacker spot. “It’s a long summer, and we still have fall camp. Everyone will be competing, and no one’s job is set in stone.”
Running back Morgan Green, who had impressed coaches with strong performances all spring, suffered a fractured clavicle. Friedgen doesn’t know how much time Green will miss. Green led the White team with a game-high 19 carries for 93 yards.
— Marc Carig