- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Jordan Steffy worked for more than three years to become Maryland’s starting quarterback.

Coping with losing the position hasn’t been nearly as difficult as the dealing with headaches, sensitivity to sound and memory loss stemming from a concussion more than a month ago.

“You can’t even think about the disappointment when you can’t think, period,” Steffy said in his first comments to the media since being knocked from a Sept. 29 game.

Steffy, though, will be ready to play when Maryland (4-4, 1-3 ACC) visits North Carolina (2-6, 1-3) on Saturday after overcoming his second concussion since arriving in college.

The symptoms of this injury — a helmet-to-helmet blow from Rutgers safety Joe Lefeged — were more varied than the jarring hit (and ensuing headaches) he faced in a 2004 game at Virginia Tech. The effects lasted longer, too, lingering for a few weeks and causing everyday problems like forgetting where a classroom was located.

With his season and perhaps more certain to end with another concussion, it would stand to reason he would be concerned about enduring a third concussion.

“Third? I wish,” said Steffy, who acknowledged suffering other concussions in high school.

Regardless how extensive the junior’s injury history is, it will remain something of a concern for the rest of his career. Coach Ralph Friedgen said he believes Steffy is ready to play and that he will make a decision on whether Steffy or sophomore Chris Turner will start toward the end of the week.

Steffy warmed up on his own in the second half of Saturday’s 30-17 loss to Clemson, though Friedgen eventually called him over to inform him he would keep Turner in the game.

“It was a concern from my point of view who we had in the game at that point and whether it was worth the risk,” Friedgen said. “I’ve been told by the doctors as long as Jordan plays he’s going to have that risk, and it’s not going to matter now if he’s hit this week or he’s hit two years from now.”

Turner led the Terps to a comeback victory over Rutgers and a home defeat of Georgia Tech. Maryland has lost its last two games, but Turner said coaches have told him he doesn’t have to worry about anything so long as he continues to play as he has. Turner is 56-for-87 for 726 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the last 3½ games.

Steffy’s return gives Friedgen options at quarterback, but Steffy is uninterested in stoking a controversy.

“The last thing this team needs is people bringing on drama about who’s starting,” Steffy said. “That’s the last thing any of us are concerned about right now. We’re worried about going out and getting this win.”

Steffy attempted to deflect any personal significance of the injury but acknowledged family members were concerned for his welfare after another concussion. However, he also remained philosophical about how his career has unfolded — and what could happen.

“There’s going to be ups and downs,” Steffy said. “I looked at it as a two-year project. We’re nearing halfway done with the project. The plan this year was to get to a bowl game, and that’s how I looked at the whole thing. I understand it’s a long road.”

Notes — Friedgen said Scott Burley is further ahead of Bruce Campbell in returning from a sprained ankle. If neither can play, walk-on Paul Pinegar would start at left tackle. …

Fullback Cory Jackson (left hand) is likely to be cleared in time to practice today, but reserve defensive tackle Travis Ivey (right knee) is less likely to play than originally expected.

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