- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 29, 2007

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen didn’t plan to announce a starting quarterback at the conclusion of spring practice.

No one gave him much reason to during yesterday’s Red-White game at Byrd Stadium.

Both Jordan Steffy and Josh Portis struggled for much of the day, and neither engineered a touchdown drive until well into the third quarter as the White team (second-string offense and starting defense) earned a 27-10 victory.

Steffy was 7-for-12 for 80 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions, while Portis was 5-for-12 for 104 yards and a touchdown. Chris Turner, the third passer in the quarterback derby, was 11-for-15 for 115 yards and an interception.

“I’m concerned how they played in a game-type atmosphere on their own,” Friedgen said. “We had trouble getting plays in and out and that’s got to get better. We have to make plays when they’re available and we didn’t do that. I thought we were very tentative at times. I wasn’t pleased with the way they played today. They can play better than that.”

Steffy, who took only 14 snaps last season, spent the entire spring as the No. 1 quarterback. Friedgen said Steffy had tossed only three interceptions in nearly five weeks of drills before yesterday and complemented it with a high completion percentage.

Although Steffy irked Friedgen with his turnovers (one came at the end of a half and another on a pass that glanced off tailback Lance Ball’s fingers), he didn’t give away a chance to win the job, either. The rising junior responded to the worst of his miscues — an underthrown pass picked off by Anthony Wiseman — with a 32-yard touchdown to LaQuan Williams on the next play.

“It was a very vanilla game,” Steffy said. “It was nothing spectacular and we weren’t going to be doing a lot of our shifts and motions and things we’ve done in the previous weeks.”

Portis’ most impressive play was a 68-yard touchdown strike to Darrius Heyward-Bey, who scooted past a stumbling Wiseman for the first team offense’s only touchdown.

Otherwise, the best moments were authored by unheralded reserves. Bobby Sheahin crafted a 10-play touchdown drive, and Jamarr Robinson hit Matt Goldberg for a 35-yard strike immediately upon entering.

In keeping with the Terrapins’ injury-filled spring, tailback Morgan Green suffered a broken clavicle in the closing plays of the scrimmage. Green ran for a game-high 92 yards on 19 carries.

“I thought Morgan’s had a great spring all along and I thought he ran very hard today,” Friedgen said. “The play he got hurt on I thought was a really a well-run play. He finished the run off, but it’s one of those things.”

Still, the scrimmage was a final glimpse for several months at what could be an ongoing battle deep into camp. Friedgen promised he would splits reps between Steffy, Portis and Turner as long as necessary, and grumbled the biggest priority for any quarterback remains producing points.

None of them did so with any consistency yesterday, leaving the spring’s biggest question — who will succeed departed two-year starter Sam Hollenbach — unanswered.

“It’s a good competition and we’ll look at it in the fall,” Portis said. “At quarterback, you just have to make plays. Everybody made plays today somewhat, and everybody had flashes and their ups and downs. … This spring game wasn’t our best team performance, but I think we’ll do better.”

Notes — Friedgen said wide receiver Stephen Smalls suffered ankle and knee injuries, but was unsure of the severity. …

Freshman Travis Baltz was 2-for-2 on field goal attempts, while rising junior Obi Egekeze was 1-for-2 with a miss from 42 yards. …

Maryland officials estimated attendance at 9,300.


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