J.S. or J.S.?
Who will emerge from today's game as Maryland's clear-cut quarterback choice? Starter Joel Statham? Backup Jordan Steffy? Both? Neither? Steffy likely will play, but Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen remained noncommittal on when he will insert the 19-year-old Steffy behind center today. It depends on the game's circumstances. Statham has seven touchdown passes this season. Steffy is more mobile. The biggest difference between the two, though, might be their demeanors. By all accounts, Steffy exudes an aura of confidence and control on the field, regardless of the conditions. Statham is more reserved; Friedgen has urged the sophomore to be more competitive. On the other hand, Friedgen does not want Statham to become too hesitant on the field or change his personality too much. Friedgen is molding two quarterbacks at the same time he's trying to win games -- not easy.
Center of Attention
Maryland center Kyle Schmitt practiced Thursday and is expected to play after suffering a concussion last week against Georgia Tech. But backup Ryan McDonald got plenty of reps this week and likely will rotate with redshirt freshman Andrew Crummey, who usually plays guard, should Schmitt still be hurt. "It's not the ideal situation, but you have to play with the cards you're dealt," Friedgen said. When asked if he felt comfortable with the backups at center, Friedgen said, "What's my alternative?" Schmitt's health and effectiveness will be key to provide continuity on an offensive line that has recently committed numerous breakdowns. What's more, Maryland can't afford errant snaps when Statham and Steffy need any advantage they can get.
Bottles and Brawls
"Chaos" was the word Friedgen chose to describe the scene after Maryland's 26-24 comeback victory over North Carolina State last season. Before the game, Friedgen unintentionally remained on the Carter-Finley Stadium field too long during warmups, which amplified the bitter feelings between the teams that climaxed afterward in an on-field melee. Some fans threw plastic bottles and debris on the field. "When the band started coming onto the field early and I wasn't done with our warmups, I wasn't leaving," Friedgen said. "Nobody told me to leave early. I have a schedule and kept it. I would not do that [intentionally stay on too long]. I didn't know that it was to honor Philip Rivers." Speaking of the whole fracas, Friedgen said, "I know they are still bitter."