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128 Hours Until Kickoff

Welcome, Maryland fans, and everyone else who stumbled in here on a Monday morning! This is Terrapins Insider and I am Eric Prisbell, your guide through Maryland’s season over the next four months. I’ll bring you into Ralph Friedgen’s office, into daily practice, into dilapidated opponent press boxes and into the fine and not-to-fine dining establishments on the road.

Brief bio: I’ve been at The Post almost five years, covering Terps football, Terps hoops, the national football and b-ball scene and more summer basketball filth than most can stomach.

Leave the message boards for a minute. We hope to make this venue a regular stop for Terrapins fans. You will find insight and analysis, news and interviews, personalities and perspective. You will also find a taste of the culture and flavor that surrounds Maryland games. Want to know what the fans are like pregame in Blacksburg, Va., on Nov. 6? How’s the tailgating at Clemson? Want quick halftime analysis of the Cal game? Crave a postgame Q&A with Josh Portis? It’ll be here.

But this is not a one-way conversation. This is your terrain to vent, rant and debate.

Think Chris Turner got a raw deal? Got to get something off your chest about Jordan Steffy? Or do you have a good barbecue recommendation for Murfreesboro? I welcome and encourage all chatter.

I want to make the coverage of the team as strong as possible. So feel free to write me with story ideas, feedback and criticism at

With your help, Terrapins Insider will grow and evolve. Here is a quick glimpse of the minimum of what you can expect on typical game weeks. I’ll provide much more, at least until I push the envelope too far.

Monday: Today, I’ll have short entries throughout the day, and tonight I’ll take you into Ralph’s office with an interview after practice.

Tuesday: I’ll offer some quick hitters from Ralph’s press conference and give a post-practice report.

Wednesday: Some highlights from the sometimes entertaining ACC teleconference, plus updates from practice.

Thursday: Injury reports are released and a practice report.

Friday: We’ll have an online chat at noon about all things college football. I’ll provide a first look at a road destination or set the scene for an anticipated home game.

Saturday: I’ll chime in as soon as I get to the stadium and expect to post during and after games.

Sunday: Ralph breaks the game down with an afternoon teleconference. I’ll give you all of it, or at least a synopsis here.

Let me start the dialogue with a few questions: Maryland has the best chance to win how many games this season? I think the safe answer is seven. I’d even say the Terps have a better chance to win nine than five. Agree or disagree?

Why did Friedgen admit that two-thirds of the veteran players polled about the QB situation want Steffy? Doesn’t that alienate Turner a little bit, if not embarrass him?

What position are you most concerned about --- defensive line depth, running back, quarterback?

Fire away.

By Eric Prisbell  |  August 25, 2008; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Next: Friedgen Has Cal, E. Michigan Games Circled


Two hours live and no posts? I thought the Terrapins were rising?

My biggest concern is definitely quarterback. Why are they picking Steffy? I think we've seen this story before. Personally, I think they should've picked Portis and worked with him with an eye on next year being really good. A little continuity would be nice which won't happen now...

Posted by: Elkton97 | August 25, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

great....Just another reason for fans to get up Gary Williams' ass. Start covering other programs in the area. Maryland is a below average ACC school.

Posted by: Matt | August 25, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

This new blog should be good with all the updates throughout the week!

Posted by: MikeR | August 25, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I believe they win 8 games this year plus whatever bowl they go to. Polls don't mean anything if you don't know what the questions are or how they were asked. I think 2/3 of the team probably doesn't have a problem with Jordan starting especially if the question was "Do you have a problem with Steffy starting?" I don't think he should have gotten the start because if he does not play himself out of the starting role fairly in the season we are going to have to go through this all over again next year.

Posted by: Paco in Ajijic | August 25, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Nice! Tell Johnny Forsythe he came through for his Terps brethren! As for the number of wins this year, i would've said at least 8 with Turner, 4-5 with Steffy. All visual evidence from last year showed anyone with two eyeballs that Steffy couldn't be a top flight D1 quarterback. As for problem areas, i think the D line is way too small and will be a problem at the end of games when they start to get worn down. Although, I've heard Navarre has been a beast on the inside all year. His skills are probably better utilized on the inside where speed is not as much of a factor and he can use his hands to gain leverage. Running back will be fine. Although Lattimore and Ball were great in grinding out tough yards, I think the explosiveness of Scott is gonna pay huge dividends as big plays were a rarity from the running game the past few years. DB's should be alright with a lockdown corner in Barnes. I think Kenny Tate is gonna see some game time back there by the end of the year at safety. Anyways, that's my two cents. Wanna say "Thanks!!!" for finally getting a Terps blog up and running. Now you get to deal with perpetually disgruntled Maryland fans...Go Terps!

Posted by: V | August 25, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Loves it...

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | August 25, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

MD/Delaware preview:
Steffy 4-15 49 yards 2 int
Turner comes in mid 3rd quarter with MD down 10-14.
Turner 12-14 197 yards 3 tds
MD 31 DE 14

Turner is named starter the following day and MD begins its run towards a National Championship

Posted by: inevitable | August 25, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Is this blog going to continue into basketball season?

Posted by: Question | August 25, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Great to see the Terps blog on the Post. I believe the Terps can win 9 games this year and hopefully since this is considered a downer year for every ACC team not named Clemson, then we may sneak into a New Years Day bowl game. The last time we were at the Peach and Gator Bowls, we had great success so lets go for it.

Please lets avoid the Congressional Bowl.

Posted by: Darren | August 25, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I've seen Steffy and Turner play, but have yet to see Portis play. I've read about Portis's athletic ability and look forward to seeing him on the field some day, but it looks like the current line-up will have to go through some sort of a re-org before he can become the starter.

I unfortunately not comfortable with Steffy, as I've seen him melt down too many times in games where they've gone against anybody that was half-way decent. But if I had to make a prediction, I'd say that Steffy will stay the starter until at least week 3 since he doesn't seem to have any nasty defenses to go up against and will thus not be exposed for a while...

I like Turner's presence in the pocket, and as a fan have yet to see how bad he is in practice - which supposedly led to Friedgen's decision to make Steffy the starter.

I guess the big question for me is regarding how they're planning on using Portis in the meantime. I remember reading that he would be used for certain plays and/or game situations. Does anybody have any more info on this?

Posted by: terphole | August 25, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Great to see the Post finally add this on here.

I personally will be there to witness the Steffy debacle vs. Delaware first hand, can't wait, got my #10 Jersey and my boo'ing voice all ready.

Over/under on when Steffy gets yanked: 2 games?

Posted by: SuperTerps | August 25, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

We're talking about practice man. Not a game, not a game, not a game...we're talking about practice. Not a game, not the game I go out there and die for, we're talking about practice man. We're not talking about the game, we're talking about practice.

Posted by: Ralph Iverson | August 25, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I would have preferred Turner but I'll be perfectly happy if Steffy wins every game he starts. Terp fan first, Turner fan definitely second or less. How can any true fan wish Steffy does poorly?

Posted by: FastTerp | August 25, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

In college football having an athletic running quarterback usually gets you to the championship or top bolls! Anybody remember Tommy Frazier, Troy Smith, Michael Vick, Marcus Vick even Tim Tebow! Ralph put your triple stacked steak and cheese down and put Portis in to save the season!!!WE WANT PORTIS! WE WANT PORTIS!

Posted by: Branny-Bran | August 25, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Definitely QB. I don't think Steffy can make enough plays for maryland to win 7. When put on the spot, he keeps doing things to make the team lose. And the problem with MD I think has always been at QB. They go where the QB goes. And unless something miraculous happens, I think Steffy is going no where.

Posted by: MD FAN | August 25, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

With regards to Eric's question, I think we can all see the reason Fridge disclosed the so-called "poll" results right here: Fans have had it with Steffy, and Friedgen needs to cover himself just in case (Ha!) Steffy doesn't succeed.

The fans have all seen enough of Steffy to know that he isn't an ACC QB. Fridge sees something different, so he made the decision (again) to go with Steffy. That might be fine (wrong, but fine) if he was willing to just say "This is my choice." Instead he has planted the seeds to shift responsibility to the players if Steffy can't cut it.

Posted by: Josh | August 25, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the blog.

I am optimistic and think the Terps will win 9. Lots of senior experience helps this team. Big "O" line, speed in the backfield with Scott, and a very good group of WR's. Lets see how Jordan does in Franklin's WCO. I think he will have a short leash, i.e., if he doesn't produce, look for Chris to get in the game quickly. Hope Jordan and the team does well.

On "D", LBs should be the strength of the team. "D" line is kinda thin on bodies, but starters are good guys. Secondary has some speed and look for Tate to play early.

This team is bigger, stronger, and faster than Ralph's 2001 team...but do they have the kind of heart that the 2001 team had? Those guys never quit and always found a way to win. Hope the 2008 Version of the Terps will do the same.


Posted by: UMDFAN | August 25, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm really disappointed in Ralph on the QB decision. He has a good proven starter in Turner, yet he benches him!? Is this some kind of concession to Coach Franklin? Steffy has proven he hasn't got 'game' so I expect fumbles, interceptions, and 'happy feet' once game time arrives. Can't we see a few more decisions focused on 'winning'?

Posted by: Bill H. | August 25, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Scott and Meggett will be the the real deal this year. I for one will be questioning Scott's lack of playing time the second half of last year.. Honestly, i think the QB will only need to be average for use to be good.

I still question the decision to start Steffy as a QB who can throw the deep ball whould only make the rest of the O better, Steffy can't.. Ralph is too personnally involved in his decisions. Win is the most important factor in college football.

Posted by: bigB | August 25, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

If you've seen Steffy, you'll know he is bigger, faster, and has a stronger arm than Turner. He can make all the throws. Sadly, I'll have to agree with everyone else and say that on the field he just doesn't cut it. If he can pull it all together (which if he ever ever will will be his 5th year senior year) then the offense will be far more explosive than it can be with Turner.

If this is a Terps blog (no inherent focus on football) will there be coverage of the excellent Terps soccer team and field hockey teams as well?

Posted by: andrew | August 25, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I have lots of doubts about Steffy as well. But a bigger problem last year was the play calling. I lost count of the number of 3rd down passes that got 1 yard less than a first down.

Posted by: TerrapinInVa | August 25, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

For the life of me, I cant understand why everyone is up in arms over Steffy being named starter. Folks are acting like Chris Turner is a Heisman trophy candidate or something. He's ok, maybe even better than average, but he's Chris Turner - leader of a team that finished 6-7 last season.

Break the numbers down as you like, but Chris Turner is not the savior. I'd even argue the Terps needed a QB even if Turner was named the starter to reach the next level.

I plan to support Steffy and see what happens. BTW, I'm not knocking Turner, I'm just calling it the way my eyes see it.

Posted by: CMart | August 25, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

First of all, thank you Eric and The Post. The B-More Sun has done a horrible job covering UM since Heather D left. Much needed blog.

The quarterback situation will settle itself. Steffy will do as he always does (look great in practice and give them nothing on gameday) and will be replaced. Once Portis gets on the field (finally!) they will not be able to keep him off of it. Mark my words on that one. He and Turner will have Steffy sending in hand signals by the Clemson game.

My biggest concerns are at safety and WR. Not much experience in the back of the secondary and no other WR besides DHB has shown they can catch the ball on a consistent basis. The running game will be fine.

I think they win 7 games if Steffy is still the QB at the start of the Clemson game (which he will not finish), 8 games if he is pulled after (or during) the Cal game.

Posted by: virtueandvice | August 25, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Steffy blew. That's why last year was poor. In the big games they won, Chris Turner played well. Did he have eye-popping stats? No, but he managed the game a lot better than Steffy. I guess it is loyalty that Friedgen named Steffy the starter. But I think it is inevitable that Turner starts at QB later in the season. Steffy at QB reminds me of Gibbs loyally playing Brunell at QB when it was apparent he couldn't play anymore.

As a terp fan, I would like to see the terps do well. Friedgen made a bang his first couple of years, but with his recruits, they haven't been as good. This is a 5 to 7 win team.

Posted by: Allen | August 25, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Matt - how is MD a below average ACC School?? Opinions without supporting facts are simply warm bad breath - dude!!

Posted by: Reindeer | August 25, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Finally, at last...a terps blog at the Post. And no one better to run it than Eric Prisbelle. EP is one of better writer/reporters at the Post. No agenda, no bias, just in depth coverage of the mighty turtles. I am expecting big things.

V for Viscardo is right, 8 or 9 wins with Chris Turner at the helm. With Steffy, not so sure. I remain optimistic though with our deep and experienced O-line. We have seen what the Fat Genius can do on offense with an experienced line (think 01, 02, 03).

Posted by: Rudes | August 25, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Very uncomfortable with idea of Steffy as starter.His record on the field has been dismal,and Ralph stuck with him anyhow 'till he was hurt.I fear that the coach will stick with him until its too late to salvage what might have been a very good season.Hope I'm wrong,but I have to believe what my eyes have showed me.(with Steffy 5 wins;if he is removed early 8+)

Posted by: Win | August 25, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that I recall some excellent commentary by you in the recent past.Looking forward to enjoying your insight into our Md. sports situations,will visit you regularly.

Posted by: Win | August 25, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Josh, I can't agree with you more. Maybe the Head Coach is doing it his know, his book (I Did it My Way). This team has enough talent to win 10 games if used correctly. All the QB has to do is manage the game, something Turner did last year. Steffy is extremely smart, has a full understanding of the offense and has good leadership skills, but this does not equate to wins. The Elite programs put the best players on the field, this includes freshman. Don't do it your it the correct way.

Posted by: Tom | August 25, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

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