- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Maryland quarterback Ryan Mitch reversed his decision to leave the Terrapins yesterday after “one of those boiling point days” caused him to skip practice Monday.

“It’s the dog days of summer and you’re down on yourself, and things are said and you say stuff to yourself that you don’t mean,” Mitch said. “I didn’t handle it like I should have.”

Mitch will be competing for the No. 2slot with Jordan Steffy and Sam Hollenbach as the team scrimmages for the final time tomorrow in preparation for its opener against Northern Illinois on Sept.4. Mitch was frustrated Sunday, throwing his helmet after being criticized during a drill. He then skipped a meeting Sunday and two practices Monday before talking with coach Ralph Friedgen and offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe.

Mitch conceded he weighed whether to transfer, but talks with the staff convinced him he will have a chance to play.

“I was so angry, not at the coaching staff but more at myself for the decision I thought I was going to make,” Mitch said. “Feelings just went overboard.”

Friedgen told Mitch his own tale of considering whether to leave the Terps as a freshman. Ultimately, Friedgen’s father mentioned that the family home’s locks would be changed because “losers don’t live here.” Friedgen stayed at Maryland despite playing three positions for three coaches.

“If Ryan goes on to success, whether it’s on the football field or life, we’ll laugh at this incident,” Friedgen said.

Typically, the Terps have at least one player who considers leaving each summer. But Taaffe said coaching teenagers forces the staff to be patient.

“This is a classic case where we help young people grow up,” Taaffe said. “Ryan was a three-year starter at DeMatha, and this was probably the first time in his career where he’s faced stiff competition. Learning how to deal with that is part of growing up. You don’t always get exactly what you want when you want it at the time you want it. Life doesn’t work that way.

“They’re little kids in big bodies, and sometimes you expect them to be more mature than they are. Hopefully, he’ll learn something from this.”

Friedgen said he won’t suspend Mitch for one game, his usual punishment for missing practice. However, the team’s leadership council may consider sanctions.

Notes — Offensive tackle Stephon Heyer will miss several days with a sprained right knee. Offensive tackle Ryan Flynn worked with starters. Defensive tackle Rob Armstrong (back) returned to practice. Running back Keon Lattimore (shoulder) missed the workout, while running back J.P. Humber (shoulder) was limited. …

The matchup of the day featured running back Josh Allen vs. middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson on a blocking drill. Allen knocked Jackson to the ground on the first snap. The quick rematch saw Jackson rush past Allen and dive atop the tackling dummy. …

Dan Melendez has been the sharpest receiver of summer drills, and he had a standout scrimmage.

“He probably has best hands of all receivers, runs good routes and has decent speed,” Friedgen said. “He struggles sometimes because he’s so fragile. I’d like to see him battle for balls, but sometimes he doesn’t do that. When he does, he’s a good receiver.” …

Redshirt freshman Wesley Jefferson is pushing William Kershaw at weakside linebacker, and Friedgen expects both to play regularly. Jefferson was one of Maryland’s top recruits since Friedgen’s 2001 arrival but needed to gain strength. …

Maryland reported a balanced budget for the 10th straight year under athletic director Debbie Yow. … The Terps sold all of their single game tickets to Georgia Tech, N.C. State and Florida State.

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