The Washington Times - October 8, 2008, 11:18AM

Time for one of those midyear look backs – and perhaps a lookahead if the data permits it.

One thing a lot of people were curious about six weeks ago was just how quarterback Josh Portis would be used. Would his package pop up quickly each week? Would Maryland use two quarterbacks at once? Would the “package” be full series.

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Well, for the most part, the answer to all those questions is no.

But it’s still reasonable to look up every snap the junior’s been in for, no? OK. Let’s see if there’s any trends (which, if you’ve been paying any attention at all, you know there have been):

DELAWARE (5)

Q1: 1/10, UM 26: Portis 6 run
Q2: 1/10, UM 35: False start, Dane Randolph
Q2: 1/15, UM 30: Portis 5 run (consecutive plays)
Q3: 2/10, UD 24: Portis 2 run
Q3: 2/8, UM 32: Portis -3 run

AT MIDDLE TENNESSEE (7)

Q2: 1/10, UM 27: Portis 4 pass to Oquendo
Q2: 2/6, UM 31: Portis 12 run (consecutive plays)
Q2: 1/20, UM 33: Portis 16 run
Q3: 3/6, MT 21: Portis 2 run right
Q4: 3/3, UM 37: Portis 4 run
Q4: 3/7, MT 33: Portis 2 run left
Q4: 4/5, MT 31: Portis -5 run left

CALIFORNIA (5)

Q1: 2/8, CAL 12: Heyward-Bey 9 end around
Q1: 1/G, CAL 3: Scott 2 run left
Q1: 2/6, UM 44: Portis 2 option keeper
Q2: 1/10, CAL 35: Calls timeout
Q2: 2/7, CAL 44: Laterals out of bounds for loss of 6

EASTERN MICHIGAN (13)

Q2: 3/8, UM 40: Portis play-action incomplete to Oquendo
Q4: 1/10, EMU 16: Portis 6 run right
Q4: 2/8, UM 45: Portis 5 run up the middle (roughly 7 minutes left, Portis plays from here)
Q4: 3/3, 50: Portis 7 run up the middle
Q4: 1/10, EMU 43: Oquendo 43 touchdown pass to I. Williams
Q4: 1/10, UM 20: Portis 17 run right
Q4: 1/10, UM 37: Portis 33 run
Q4: 1/10, EMU 30: Green 0 run
Q4: 2/10, EMU 30: Portis 6 run
Q4: 3/4, EMU 24: Portis 8 run
Q4: 1/10, EMU 16: Portis 8 run
Q4: 2/2, EMU 8: Portis 8 touchdown run
Q4: 1/10, UM 18: Portis kneel for -3

AT CLEMSON (5)

Q1: 2/10, CU 42: Portis right end for 1
Q1: 2/9, CU 17: Portis right end for 9
Q2: 3/3, CU 8: Phil Costa false start
Q3: 1/10, CU 42: Costa false start
Q4: 2/12, CU 44: Scott 2 run left

AT VIRGINIA (3)

Q2: 2/10, UM 43: Portis 6 run (plus Scott Burley penalty for late hit)
Q2: 2/6, UVA 43: Portis 3 run right
Q3: 1/10, UM 46: Portis run wiped out by Dan Gronkowski hold

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OK, so let’s do a few breakdowns of these 38 snaps.

BY QUARTER: First 6, Second 11, Third 5, Fourth 16

BY OUTCOME: Portis run 24, Portis handoff/lateral 6, Penalty negates play 4, Portis pass 2, Portis kneel 1, Timeout called 1.

BY DOWN: First 16, second 14, third 7, fourth 1

TIMES GIVEN CONSECUTIVE PLAYS: 3

There’s a lot more that could be tossed in here, and I’ll let y’all comment among yourselves. But for Portis to have thrown it twice in 38 snaps suggests quite a bit about how the coaching staff believes he’s best used.

Portis is almost a microcosm of the entire Maryland team. We don’t know that much more about him now than we did at the end of August. Sure, he’s a shifty runner, but that was his rep before even stepping onto the field.

He’s only lost yardage on two of his 24 true carries (the lateral and the kneel technically count as rushes as well, though the kneel is credited to the team), so he’s obviously done some things right.

But just how good or bad Portis is? That remains anyone’s guess at the midpoint of the season.

Patrick Stevens