The Washington Times - August 31, 2007, 10:41AM
MarylandJordan Steffy SEE RELATED:


\ It is the easy thing to point to when assessing the Terps’ chances this season, and it’s certainly been scrutinized as much as anything about this team. One of the message boards for Maryland fans already has a Josh Portis Mafia, ready to squeal at the very sight of the athletic Florida transfer.\

\ (For the record, the real keys to the season are probably both of the lines. Maryland’s offensive line can ill afford to incur a rash of injuries, and neither Steffy nor Portis will likely thrive under constant pressure. The defensive line — which generated only 20 sacks last year and was a non-factor in several games — must be better to take pressure off the secondary.)\

\ Back to Steffy. He isn’t going to win the Heisman. He isn’t going to throw for 3,500 yards. He isn’t going to re-invent the wheel. But no one should expect him to do those things, either.\

\ It would be stunning, though, if he was an abject failure. He understands and accepts that his job is to be a game manager. He understands he can do more by not making a bad decision than by trying to create something that isn’t there. He understands the offense and his role in it.\

\ If that doesn’t seem exciting to fans, too bad. And don’t expect much excitement this week, either; Ralph Friedgen ran a painfully vanilla offense early on last year, and there shouldn’t be any reason to open things up against Villanova (no matter how “tough” the Wildcats purportedly are).\

\ Steffy’s earned his chance at long last, and the bet here is he turns out to be solid even if he won’t be a fixture on highlights shows. That’s OK. Maryland had a quarterback like that last year and he certainly had a little something to do with that 9-4 record.\

\ Of course, Steffy (like the rest of the team) will remain a relative unknown for the next two weeks barring an utter disaster. Tomorrow is an early test, but not one worth reading much into. The real evaluation should begin Sept. 13.\

\ - Patrick Stevens