College Football

Terps Begin Spring Practice 'Wide Open' at Quarterback

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Maryland began spring football practice yesterday, starting its adjustment to a new offensive coaching hierarchy while opening competition for the Terrapins' three starting quarterback candidates.

Incumbent Chris Turner, a junior, will begin the spring as the starter, "but it's a wide-open situation," Coach Ralph Friedgen said. Both senior Jordan Steffy, who began last year as the starter, and junior Josh Portis, a high-profile recruit who was suspended last season, will challenge Turner.

"I'm anxious to see how that works out," Friedgen said. "I'm not opposed to playing more than one quarterback if it works. It's only fair we start off with Chris where he is, but that's not a job that's marked in concrete. We'll see what happens."

The quarterbacks will be directed by new offensive coordinator James Franklin, Friedgen's first offensive coordinator since Charlie Taaffe left after the 2005 season. Hiring Franklin has allowed Friedgen to coach the team more broadly, no longer bogged down by calling plays.

"Now he gets a chance to really be a head coach," wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey said. "He's been more relaxed. He's had a chance to sleep in more than usual. He just seems like he can worry about the things he has to worry about."

Said Friedgen: "It's taken a lot off me, it really has. I really have found that I can spend more time with the players. I wasn't doing a very good job of it. It was just a matter of time."

Friedgen said he and Franklin share the same philosophies on offense, so the largest transition for the players will come with learning Franklin's terminology. Franklin had been the offensive coordinator at Kansas State.

While the offense makes the transition, Maryland's defense will be without defensive lineman Mack Frost and linebackers Rick Costa, Moise Fokou and David Philistin, all seniors and all sidelined by injuries for the spring.

Maryland will play its spring game on April 26.

-- Adam Kilgore

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