Had a question sent to me from a loyal reader today about one of the leftover questions from the Humanitarian Bowl.
No, it was not “How do you break curfew in Boise?”
And it was not “How does a player suspended for a half win the game MVP?”
And it was not “Was walking on a blue field as close as anyone is going to get to walking on water?”
The replies to those are “Especially between Christmas and New Year’s,” “Because the media voted on it,” and “Probably so, unless you believe in miracles or think jet skiing counts.”
But here’s a question that has nothing to do with those crazy queries:
Whatever happened to Friedgen’s promise that Jordan Steffy would play before the end of the season? I expected him to get at least one play in, out there in Boise.
Friedgen’s promise was that he believed Steffy “will come in and win a game for us before the season is over. I promise you that.”
It was not that he would specifically play. Based on the semantics, Ralph figured he’d need Steffy (either because the starter —- presumably, at the time, Chris Turner —- was injured or ineffective) at some point.
Obviously, neither of those things happened to the extent Steffy was required to play. Turner never got so banged up he couldn’t play, and the times he played poorly happened to coincide with times when pretty much the entire offense stunk. Switching quarterbacks wouldn’t have made much of a difference against Middle Tennessee or Florida State, and Turner really wasn’t as bad as some people thought at Virginia.
Ralph initially made his prediction back in early September, in a particularly emotional moment a few days after Steffy’s thumb injury. That was understandable. He’s quite fond of Steffy, and was obviously disappointed the fifth-year senior’s final season was derailed.
Then he mentioned it again in December, which was sort of odd since there was only one game left. It wasn’t like there would be too many opportunities left for Steffy.
As a result, I too was wondering if Steffy would get into the final minutes of the victory. Maryland took a knee twice to close out the game, and while that isn’t an especially meaningful way to close out a career, it would have been a nice touch at that stage.
In the bigger picture, the interesting part of this is that Steffy and Josh Allen are probably the two players over the last four seasons whose careers evoked the most emotion from Friedgen (at least with reporters). And oddly enough, Allen also didn’t play in the Champs Sports Bowl his senior year even though the No. 4 tailback took a couple carries late in the game.
Nevertheless, both of those guys made it to the end of their five years rather than quitting, which in a lot of ways is a far greater victory than a few garbage-time snaps to close out a final season. That said, finding out whether inserting Steffy was even considered will be a worthwhile question to ask Ralph the next time I get the chance.
—- Patrick Stevens