- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 27, 2008

James Franklin’s first spring as Maryland’s offensive coordinator ended much like the offseason practice sessions before his return to the program.

There was basic play-calling with few gimmicks and promising performances from tailbacks with limited game experience.

Oh, and the Terrapins didn’t wrap up the spring with a definitive No. 1 at quarterback, with Chris Turner and Jordan Steffy both producing solid performances while receiving much of the work in the first half as the White team defeated the Red team 27-3 before 10,221 at Byrd Stadium.

“Everybody looks at it and says ‘Who’s No. 1?’ and they want to create a quarterback controversy,” Franklin said. “I look it as a positive. We have three kids I think we can win with. There’s a lot of places in the country, they don’t know if they have one. What we need is one of them to step up and say ‘I’m the guy.’ Nobody’s necessarily done that yet.”

Steffy spent much of the day with the White squad (nominally the second-team offense and first-team defense, though players switched teams throughout) and completed 14 of 23 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown.

It was a welcome sound performance for the senior, who began last year as the starter before suffering a concussion in the season’s fifth game. He played sparingly after that but has found Franklin’s scheme more conducive to his skill set.

“In the first meeting we had, he said the point of this offense is to throw short, precise passes and get open guys the ball,” Steffy said. “Last year I completed short passes, but we weren’t getting a lot of yards with that. It just feels good for him to say that.”

Turner, who took over as the starter after Steffy’s injury and led the Terps to an appearance in the Emerald Bowl, was also steady. He was 6-for-8 for 91 yards in the first half, twice leading the Red team within a yard of a touchdown before penalties and sacks forced the squad to settle for one made and one missed field goal.

Coach Ralph Friedgen didn’t declare a starter afterward, which probably came as little surprise to those involved in the competition.

“The good thing about the spring game is the atmosphere and playing in front of a crowd,” Turner said. “The preparation, we do all the same stuff that we do as if it was a normal game. As far as an offense, we kept it vanilla. The defense didn’t show any of their new stuff. Typical spring game.”

Josh Portis was 3-for-6 for 9 yards, though most of his playing time came in the second half when the Terps relied heavily on the run. Fourth-stringer Jamarr Robinson was 7-for-7 for 69 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown strike to Stephen Smalls.

There were greater answers to be gleaned at tailback, where sophomores Da’Rel Scott and Morgan Green both thrived. Scott ran for 113 yards and a score on 16 carries, though his best moment was a 75-yard touchdown dash up the middle called back because of an illegal motion penalty.

Green picked up 68 yards on 11 carries, further cementing the rugged rusher as a complement to Scott in what will likely be the Terps’ backfield tandem when the season starts Aug. 30 against Delaware.

By then, the Terps will have had a summer to further assimilate Franklin’s scheme and grow from yesterday’s work.

“There’s a long ways to go, there’s no doubt about it, but I think there’s a great foundation to build on for next fall camp,” Franklin said.

Notes — Although safety Jeff Allen left the game with an injury, he later returned. “I think we came out of it healthy, so that may be the best part about the spring game,” Friedgen said. …

Kicker Obi Egekeze went 1-for-3 on field goals and missed an extra point.


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