College Football

Terrapins' Backup QB Turner Ponders Options, May Transfer

Coach Ralph Friedgen and Chris Turner last season, when Turner led two top 10 upsets.
Coach Ralph Friedgen and Chris Turner last season, when Turner led two top 10 upsets. (By Preston Keres -- The Washington Post)
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Maryland backup quarterback Chris Turner was expected to mull over his options with his family late last night and decide by this morning whether he would remain at Maryland or transfer, said a source close to the situation.

On Monday, Terrapins Coach Ralph Friedgen named fifth-year senior Jordan Steffy the team's starter and said that Turner, a junior, would be No. 2. Turner started the final eight games last season and helped Maryland beat two top 10 teams, Rutgers and Boston College.

Turner, who practiced Monday and yesterday, has not been available to comment since Friedgen announced his decision Monday morning, but a source close to the situation said the player was expected to have an extensive discussion about his situation with his family.

When James Franklin, Maryland's offensive coordinator, was asked if he had any sense whether Turner might transfer, he responded: "What I can tell you is that I am really excited about the University of Maryland football program, the direction we're headed, our offense, and that's what I'm focusing on."

Friedgen started his daily meeting with reporters yesterday by saying he would answer no questions about the quarterback decision. When asked a general question about the decision, Friedgen said it was probably the most difficult of his coaching career at Maryland.

"Just because I don't think it was going to be good no matter how I went with it," Friedgen said. "I think a lot of those kids, they are all great kids, they work their butts off and I believe in them tremendously as people. I want to see them be successes in life. This whole thing is a preparation for that."

Friedgen said Monday that he chose Steffy because of his consistency in practice and because Steffy outshone Turner in almost every statistical measurement the coaches used in spring and summer practices and scrimmages.

Steffy, who rooms with Turner, said Turner's mind-set is the same as it has been, adding: "I know people would like for me to say he is down in the dumps. It is nothing like that. It is the same way it was through all of camp, going out and working hard."

All three quarterbacks, including Josh Portis, had been getting equal reps in practice before Friedgen named Steffy the starter. The coaches wavered back and forth in recent days and weeks before coming to a decision. But questions, particularly about Turner's future, remain.

"I think all of us as a group have moved forward from that," Steffy said. "The important thing is that every day we get better."

-- Eric Prisbell

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