Injury to the starting quarterback is a mum subject at Maryland, but today's closed scrimmage will address the question, "Who will back up Boomer Esiason?"

Frank Reich, Stan Gelbaugh and Barry Waseleski are the candidates. Each has received an equal share of practice time as the second-team quarterback since workouts began nine days ago.

"After Saturday we'll pretty much know who's going to be No. 2 and who will be No. 3," Joe Krivak, quarterback coach, said yesterday. "Saturday's scrimmage is a factor, but it's not a life-or-death situation."

With two weeks left before the season opener, at Vanderbilt, Krivak and Coach Bobby Ross feel it's time to start preparing only two quarterbacks. Krivak said yesterday it would be premature to say if any one of the three is a leading candidate.

Reich, a fourth-year junior, is Esiason's roommate. At 6 feet 4, 205 pounds, he's even a little bigger than Esiason. "Frank definitely has the strongest arm," Krivak said. Of Saturday's scrimmage, Reich said, "It determines my future, really."

Gelbaugh, a junior, is 6-3, 200 pounds and the best athlete of the three. "He's got an adequate arm," Krivak said, "but he's agile and can run. He could play another position, if it came down to that." The coaching staff has also discussed with Gelbaugh the possibility of redshirting (sitting out) this season. A decision will be made in two or three weeks.

"I'd like to redshirt," Gelbaugh said. "It would give me two years of eligibility after Boomer leaves."

Waseleski, a third-year sophomore, relies more on touch passing and versatility. He was the scout-team quarterback two seasons ago, then redshirted last year.

None of the three has much experience. Gelbaugh, in four appearances last year, completed six of nine passes for 48 yards. Reich, in three games, completed two of three for 17. Krivak said he is confident all three know the offense well enough to run it.