Monday mailbag

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Ralph Friedgen and his players aren’t quite ready to move on to next season.

But judging by the e-mail loyal reader Slatter sent me early Sunday morning, it took some fans about three hours to start thinking about 2009.

And here is what he had to say, riveting his attention immediately to soon-to-be-senior quarterbacks Chris Turnerand Josh Portis:

Do you anticipate another one of Fridge’s patented “quarterback battles” next year between Portis and Turner, or do you think it’s pretty much Turner’s gig from here on out? I would think it’s Turner’s job to lose with the lack of snaps Portis has seen, but you never know with the Fridge.

It wouldn’t be Maryland without an open competition. It just wouldn’t.

Sometimes, those competitions just require the incumbent to maintain a pulse and show some interest in continuing to work hard and improve (think the 2006 season, Sam Hollenbach’s senior year).

At other times, it’s a much bigger deal – like this past August.

By my count, Portis has played two snaps in the last four games, and much of the reason for that has to be the way Turner has played.

To put it more bluntly, Turner has started 10 games and played poorly twice (Middle Tennessee and Florida State). On Saturday, his greatest problem was regular company in the pocket – notably Everette Brown. But take that away, and there’s still nine straight games where he was at least capable and was sometimes superb.

Friedgen has said this season he’s pleased with the way Turner is progressing, and that the consistency that was missing in the past is finally there. Assuming there’s not an unanticipated game-changing development (coaching/coordinator change, player attrition, etc.), the guess here is Turner will have a much longer leash in camp next year than he did this season.

But like Slatter said, you never know with the Fridge.

Patrick Stevens

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