- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 21, 2008

Would he stay or would he go?

When he was the first quarterback to stride onto the team’s practice field for the Terrapins’ second session of the day, his intentions were obvious.

The junior will remain in College Park, providing the Terps with enviable quarterback depth heading into the fall.

Neither Turner nor coach Ralph Friedgen was available for comment after the decision was made. But John Turner, the quarterback’s father, said in a telephone interview several variables contributed to contemplating a transfer after Jordan Steffy won Maryland’s camp competition to start the Aug. 30 opener against Delaware.

John Turner said his father died earlier this summer, and that family considerations were a factor.

“The news from Monday we took a little harder than we should,” John Turner said. “At the time, I just wanted him to be at home. Football is a sport. It’s fun. Life is more important.”

Friedgen named Steffy the Terps’ starter on Monday while emphasizing Turner was the No. 2 even though junior Josh Portis was assured of playing in some specialized packages to take advantage of his athleticism.

Steffy started the first five games last year, but Turner took over when Steffy suffered a concussion and helped Maryland reach the Emerald Bowl despite an injury-decimated offensive line and wide receiver corps.

Along the way, he rallied Maryland past Rutgers and engineered an upset of Boston College as the Terps upended two top-10 teams in a season for the first time in school history.

But when Friedgen announced Steffy had reclaimed the starting job, he pointed to the fifth-year senior’s practice performance as the basis of his decision. Chris Turner did not speak with reporters either Monday or Tuesday but did have a brief media session after Wednesday’s morning practice.

“Right now, I have a lot of support from my family,” Turner said. “It doesn’t matter if people say I should stay or if I should go or this or that. I want to stay. I would never want to leave, but given the circumstances it’s something I had to consider.”

Turner planned to have discussions with his parents and Friedgen on Wednesday afternoon before finalizing his choice. John Turner confirmed his family investigated the possibilities that would bring his son closer to their Simi Valley, Calif., home.

“We looked at options and different things,” John Turner said. “There’s a few schools in California. … We never asked for a release. We were told we would get one if we asked for one.”

Chris Turner’s decision means Maryland can rely on three quarterbacks entering the season. Friedgen said repeatedly - both before and since naming a starter - he expects all three to play throughout the year.

Friedgen, who criticized Turner’s consistency in the past, said Turner has had a completion percentage of more than 70 percent during practice this week.

“I think the world of the kid,” Friedgen said. “Since this decision, he’s had his best practices, which kind of shows me something about the kid. If he was going to go in the tank, he would have. … He’s turned his game up big-time. So [it’s] a pretty good situation for us. That’s the thing: He has that ability. Who knows? Maybe that will bring out the best in him.”

John Turner said his son wanted both to be with his friends at Maryland and with his family. Ultimately, he opted to stick it out in College Park.

“I don’t want my teammates to think I’m a quitter or I’m bailing on them or anything like that,” Chris Turner said before finalizing his decision. “Talk to anybody who knows me. I love going here more than anyone else. They know that.”

Notes - Friedgen said safety Drew Robinson (dislocated shoulder) will be out for at least four weeks. Robinson also plays on several special teams units. …

Sophomore tailback Morgan Green (quadriceps) returned to practice.

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