The Washington Times - August 18, 2007, 10:15AM

\ Well, officially, anyway.\

\ Jordan Steffy was all but anointed the starter by the start of camp, with coach Ralph Friedgen’s short timetable and emphasis on managing the game above just about everything else making it the quarterback battle easier to figure out than a 25-piece jigsaw puzzle. Really, it’s a surprise it’s gone on this long.\

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\ But with two weeks left before the Sept. 1 opener against Villanova and a week remaining in camp, now is probably the right time to make the call.\

\ It’s odd. On the eve of camp, the three most intriguing potential position battles were at quarterback (Steffy, Josh Portis and Chris Turner), kicker (Obi Egekeze and Travis Baltz) and the hybrid end/linebacker position (Trey Covington and Alex Wujciak).\

\ Since then, the QBs were flung into a nominal competition, Egekeze has hit just about everything he should have after failing to win the job the last two years and Wujciak ripped up his knee and is done for the year.\

\ So what does that leave for tonight to really sort out? Right tackle and middle linebacker. Right tackle Dane Randolph, who seemed to constantly be “really pushing” Jared Gaither (and at times, taking the job altogether) last season, is now being pushed by converted defensive lineman Jack Griffin. \

\ Friedgen seems pleased with this development, and Griffin is part of the group of seven linemen who have been talked up for a month. However, anyone expecting the football version of the transitive property to take root here is probably a bit optimistic. Griffin has never played a down on the offensive line and Gaither is a gargantuan freak of nature now drawing an NFL paycheck. But he might wind up as good as Randolph, which is what matters for this team.\

\ At middle linebacker, it will first be interesting to see if Chase Bullock (ankle) participates in the scrimmage. What’s interesting here is that Dave Philistin, who is also battling for the job, has played all three linebacker positions in the Terps’ scheme over the last two-plus years. \

\ He played on the strong side the last two years and shifted to the weak side in the spring. Even though he’s new to the middle, Philistin understands what goes into each linebacker’s role. That could be a vital tool for him this season if he winds up winning the gig.\ - Patrick Stevens