- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2007

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen hopes some of his offense’s supporting cast continue to contribute as they did in Saturday’s 34-24 win over then No. 10 Rutgers.

In the case of backup quarterback Chris Turner, that desire might turn to need Saturday against Georgia Tech.

Friedgen said yesterday junior Jordan Steffy is questionable for this week’s game after he suffered a concussion on a blitz from safety Joe Lefeged in the second quarter, creating the possibility of Turner getting his first career start. Steffy’s shoulder injury was not deemed serious, Friedgen said.

Steffy will be re-evaluated today, and Friedgen indicated he was unsure who would start this week. He left open the possibility of playing both Steffy and Turner, who engineered the second-half comeback in his first extended college action.

Turner was 14-for-20 for 149 yards and led the Terps to four scoring drives after the break. He also connected on a few downfield throws — passes Steffy struggled to even get off — to help Maryland (3-2) upend a top-10 team on the road for the first time in 17 years.

“I look at it as a positive,” Friedgen said. “Yesterday we found out we have another guy that we can win with. That’s good. We have to find the best guy who’s going to be there on Saturday.”

While Turner merits a closer look after his performance, Steffy’s absence would exacerbate the Terps’ already thin depth. With Josh Portis suspended for the year and Steffy possibly out, freshman Jamarr Robinson could be the backup this week.

Robinson will receive reps at practice this week, and Friedgen already has started considering what he would do if he loses his two remaining scholarship quarterbacks. The likely solution would be playing with tailbacks Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore out of the single wing, which is clearly nowhere near ideal for a team halfway to bowl eligibility.

“I don’t know if there’s anybody I could plug into there that would be able to function,” Friedgen said. “It would be pretty much the same type of thing. Even if I had a quarterback or a player had experience at quarterback, a [Dan] Gronkowski or even a Torrey Smith, I don’t know if they could throw the ball well enough to do what we want to do with our offense.”

One thing the Terps hope to continue with the offense is spreading around touches and getting more players involved. While Maryland’s stars were busy Saturday — Lattimore had 34 carries and Darrius Heyward-Bey was targeted nine times after receiving 20 looks in the first four games — so, too, were some secondary options.

Redshirt freshman Da’Rel Scott earned his first three career carries and ripped off a 19-yard run. Gronkowski and Cory Jackson had two receptions each. And LaQuan Williams made two long catches, including a vital sprawling grab that set up a fourth-quarter touchdown.

“We need to have everybody involved within the offense,” Friedgen said. “We’re a different offense when that happens, when we have more people making plays.”

The Terps also avoided crushing negative plays. Turner didn’t absorb a sack after Steffy was taken down 18 times in 4½ games and mauled several other times. Friedgen said two of the hits the 6-foot-1 Steffy took were because of sight adjustments or because he simply couldn’t see a blitz coming.

The 6-foot-3 Turner had no such problems, giving Friedgen another thing to ponder even if the resilient Steffy is ready to play this week in addition to Turner’s super second half.

“He did a good job yesterday,” Friedgen said. “He’s still missing a couple things. It wasn’t perfect, even if it looked that way.”

Note — Friedgen said junior linebacker Erin Henderson was questionable for this week with a knee injury. Henderson hobbled off against Rutgers but later returned.


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