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“He’s one of the most freakish athletes I’ve ever been around at any level,” Franklin said. “He will play.”

Franklin’s scheme is based on a West Coast offense, a philosophy that meshes with the skills Steffy displayed during his five-game stint as a starter last year.

“It definitely does [play to my strengths],” Steffy said. “He sat here the first day, and he said the West Coast offense is designed to throw short passes and let your receivers run with the ball. It fits my style of play very well, although we are going to push the ball up the field a little more.”

That’s a trait Turner displayed more frequently than Steffy last season. It is uncertain whether Steffy can add that element to his game regularly, but he will get the chance to do so in the opening weeks of the season regardless of who else remains in College Park to send signals in from the sideline.

“We have to get going,” Friedgen said. “We can’t be sitting here. We have to have a leader, and if that’s the guy, we’re going to follow him. From all the evidence I have, he is. And if that’s not the case, we have to get somebody else. I think he’s deserved that opportunity.”

Note — Senior cornerback Richard Taylor was transported to an area hospital with a heat-related illness suffered early in the Terps’ morning practice. A team spokesman said Taylor was released later in the day.