- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 27, 2006

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Maryland football team can sympathize with tourists who can’t seem to find enough hours to see everything in this town.

Between working through practices and visiting attractions, the Terrapins have been busy since arriving late last week to prepare for Friday night’s Champs Sports Bowl meeting with Purdue.

“It’s been great down here — there’s been so much to do,” quarterback Sam Hollenbach said. “[Monday] was at Disney World, and we went to a bunch of different parks. We went to the world’s largest Hard Rock Cafe. There hasn’t been enough time to do the stuff you want to do.”

Of course, the Terps have on-field work to handle.

Maryland rolled into its brief media availability yesterday at the Florida Citrus Bowl escorted by seven local police officers with Terps decals affixed to their motorcycle helmets. The Terps worked out at a field adjacent to the stadium before Christmas, but coach Ralph Friedgen called Central Florida’s George O’Leary to obtain use of UCF’s indoor facility so the Terps could avoid the day’s intermittent rain.

Earlier in the day, Maryland participated in a festival for underprivileged children along with players from Purdue. Each Terps player spent time with one child during the two-hour event, though Friedgen found a comical tinge to the outing.

“A lot of kids didn’t know how to react to being with Purdue players. They’re like the enemy,” Friedgen said as he rolled his eyes. “I said, ‘It’s really not about them. It’s about the kids.’ ”

Friedgen said one of the few unpleasant surprises of the trip was cornerback Josh Wilson’s case of food poisoning. The senior missed a day of practice but is fine now and should start Friday night.

A look ahead

It’s never too early to discuss next season’s quarterback situation. The bowl game marks the first time Florida transfer Josh Portis will be eligible to play for the Terps. The athletic Portis won’t waste a year of eligibility for one game, and Friedgen said he wouldn’t enter the spring ahead of Jordan Steffy.

“What I’m a little worried about is people are building such a tremendous expectation, and I don’t want to put that on him,” Friedgen said. “I want him to come in here, do his best and see what happens. He’ll be behind Jordan because Jordan’s been with us the whole year and he’ll know the offense better. Going into spring, Jordan’s definitely the starting quarterback. That doesn’t mean [the job is] not open.”

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