The Washington Times - August 31, 2008, 09:39AM

Betcha thought this would be about Jordan Steffy‘s thumb. Wrong!

OK, a brief bit there. This doesn’t seem like much of a mystery to me. A trainer was examining his throwing hand after Chris Turner entered the game. Even Steffy’s most ardent critics from the bleachers (and there were plenty yesterday) would admit he’s a competitive dude and wouldn’t come out of a game on his own.


So the conspiracy theories I’ve heard floated that Ralph Friedgen is trying to gracefully nudge Steffy to the bench don’t make much sense —- especially since Steffy did precisely what he was asked to do for a half. Well, other than throw touchdown passes.

But is that really a big deal? In the last seven years, Maryland starting QBs have thrown for one touchdown in its season openers. ONE! Against nine interceptions! Toss in one from Steffy in the 2006 opener and two from Chris Turner off the bench last year and it’s an unsightly 1-to-12 ratio. That’s borderline unbelievable.

But it’s true, and it’s here for you in chart form to savor on this Labor Day weekend.

Year QB C-A, Yards TD/INT  Efficiency
2001  Hill 10-26, 86 2/0 91.63
2002 McBrien 9-23, 84 0/2 52.42
2003 McBrien 12-24, 110 0/1 80.17
2004 Statham 12-22, 169  0/1 109.98
2005 Hollenbach  19-30, 217 1/2 121.76
2006 Hollenbach 9-15, 153 0/0 145.68
2007 Steffy 19-24, 174 0/1 131.73
2008 Steffy 10-18, 115 0/2 87.00

Besides tucking this away as another sliver of evidence that Sam Hollenbach is the most underappreciated Maryland quarterback in the last two decades —- that he managed to be reasonably efficient when just about no one else could —- it just shows Steffy’s performance wasn’t too unlike other opening games. Or, really, how he played overall last year.

(His first-half efficiency yesterday was 140.85, which means his called-from-the-box dinking and dunking presumably delighted the Terps’ staff).

Bottom line: It’s understandable why fans would be suspicious of Steffy’s performance based on past results. But regardless the fifth-year senior’s health, don’t read too much into how he fared in yesterday’s game. Both good quarterbacks and bad ones usually fail to impress in openers under Friedgen.

—- Patrick Stevens