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The task for Turner

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If someone were to come up with one of those snazzy “under pressure” graphics, it would not be all that pretty for Maryland quarterback Chris Turner.

In four games, he’s absorbed the sort of beating that comes with being a pocket passer with (to put it kindly) a still-evolving line. The willingness to send him scampering at times has, at the least, exposed him to even more risk in the open field.

While the number of hurries and knockdowns is hard to track, it’s easy to add up the 14 sacks Turner has taken. Six came in the opener, another seven over the last two weeks.

Coach Ralph Friedgen, while giving Turner the sort of vote of confidence he rarely if ever offered the last two years, said Sunday his senior was getting “skittish.”

And, really, who could blame him?

Not offensive coordinator James Franklin.

“I think it’s natural, as human beings, there’s a self-preservation,” Franklin said. “You start to change things. Instead of just dropping back and going through your progressions and doing the things you’re trained to do, we saw it last year at Virginia and you saw it last year with Florida State. Chris is a tough guy. He’ll stay in there and do the things he has to do to be successful.”

Turner certainly has stood in and taken the best shot opponents have given him. And it’s not going to be any different this week when Clemson defensive ends Ricky Sapp and Da’Quan Bowers come to town Saturday.

Just the thought of those two guys coming off the edge would have to be unpleasant for a quarterback. But that’s the task in front of Turner, who is coming off arguably the roughest outing of his career.

“I’ve been talking to all the quarterbacks about it,” Franklin said. “They just have to be tough suckers. They have to be so mentally and physically tough that they’re going to do their job despite the odds. They’re going to follow their training despite the odds. I don’t care if on first down they gets sacked and on second down they get sacked. If it’s third down and the guy’s open, he can’t start moving around the pocket or looking at the rush and doing those things.”

Patrick Stevens

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