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Steffy Wins Popular Vote

Just got back from the gym, and I wanted to chime in a little more on this player-polling issue before I head off for College Park. The question is: Why did Ralph Friedgen acknowledge that two-thirds of the players polled about the QB situation picked Jordan Steffy?

Someone asked me to review the situation, so here is how it unfolded: A week ago, Friedgen announced his QB decision to a group of reporters in his office. Ralph cited a statistical advantage by Steffy as part of his justification for the decision. He also said that offensive coordinator James Franklin polled a handful of players. When asked who the players voted for, Friedgen said two-thirds picked Steffy. Later that day, we asked Franklin about the players he asked and he said it did not matter who they were.

I have three points that have been made to me by other observers:

1) If Steffy clearly won the statistical battle, why even volunteer the fact that players were polled. The coach doesn’t need to win over the public, does he? If the stats in practice say Steffy, then that should be enough justification.

2) Revealing the results of the informal poll can do more harm than good. If the coaches knew that the situation with Chris Turner possibly leaving was precarious, why risk anything by saying that two-thirds voted for Steffy?

3) If Steffy had won the statistical battle, but Turner had won the support of the veterans polled, what would have happened? Would Friedgen still have revealed the results of the poll? How much tougher would the decision have been?

By the way, I did not ask any players specifically who they voted for, but recent interviews do suggest that they have confidence in Steffy.

Center Edwin Williams said all three quarterbacks were talented, but he said Steffy stood out because he prepares better than any player he has seen. "If you ask Jordan on every play what he did and what he had to look at, he will tell you every single thing to a tee," Williams said. "As far as a quarterback goes, he knows exactly what he needs to do, how he needs to do it, when he needs to throw, what speed. Jordan played as a true freshman; he knows what it takes to be a division I quarterback."

Earlier in camp, intrepid Post reporter Steve Yanda interviewed wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who chimed in with these thoughts regarding last year’s challenge of adjusting to a quarterback change: “It was frustrating at times, but, you know, for me, it was more of a, you know, I came on towards the end of the year. Having a quarterback change in the middle of the season, after the Rutgers game, it’s a little bit different because you have been taking all the reps with one guy and now you gotta switch it over to another guy and everything like that. It was tough for me. …

“It is hard to adjust because your timing with your quarterback is key in football. That’s why you take a lot of reps and have a lot of practice with that quarterback. That quarterback drops back different than the other quarterbacks, and that quarterback knows you run this route like this certain way. You have to have a mode of relationship off the field and on the field in order to get things rolling.”

By Eric Prisbell  |  August 25, 2008; 12:59 PM ET
Categories:  Football  | Tags: Chris Turner, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Edwin Williams, James Franklin, Jordan Steffy, Ralph Friedgen, Steve Yanda  
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I think it was a wise choice to select Steffy as opening day starter. However he needs to be on a very short leash and I am talking bad 1st half against Deleware and he should be coming out. I wouldn't give him a couple of games to wrinkle things out because its more than one quaterback capable of getting the job done.

We should all be thankfull Turner did not transfer and I would only use Portis in that Tim Tebow package.

Posted by: Darren | August 25, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

From what I've heard is that Fridge polled most of the senior leaders. So who knows how many seniors he asked.

Posted by: Steve | August 25, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

You're the Head Coach and If you've analyzed the situation, why would you poll any player? Your job as a Head Coach is to make the difficult decisions. Steffy has had five years to prove himself. Turner has done that in one season. Did the coaching staff truely evaluate the situation or was it about Staffy being a fifth year senior? My've just divided your team.

Posted by: Tom | August 25, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the coach should take responsibility for his decisions, and not try to pawn it off on others. He certainly should solicit input from his players, but ultimately he should simply say, "This is what I've decided."

Specifically citing player support can only create problems if Steffy isn't up to par.

Posted by: Lindemann | August 25, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I think Franklin had a soft spot for Steffy who he recruited out of High School and who is a Senior. I think Fridge went along with this choice because he wants to support Franklin and because he has a problem with how Turner practices and Portis is not ready. I think Fridge made a poor decision to site "players Polling" as a reason for Steffy choice and the players will see through this. This is not good leadership. Fridge is overrated...I'm sorry.

Posted by: MerpTerp | August 25, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I really feel that it was a bad decision to say we polled players!! If steffy does get hurt ( yes he will) chris will be wondering Now who said that they did not want me



Losing seasons do not put loyal fans in the seats.

Posted by: carolina terp | August 25, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

We will not win any big games with Steffy and will be forced to make a change mid season again...either it will come from injury or lackluster performance. Then, if we are lucky, we will have Turner back for next year but he will be a senior so it will be back to square one in 2010. And on and on it goes for the Terps. I remember the days when we won 8-10 games with non conf teams like Penn St, WVU, Mich, we have to try to get there with Delaware, East Mich, Navy etc

Posted by: TerpfanMA | August 25, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Alright Negative Nancies. How many of you actually went to the games last year? Turner wasn't Joe Montana, he lost 5 games and had his ups and downs too. I wanted him this year but there is no reason to act like UVA fans. Lets root for the Terps and hopefully Steffy does well.

Posted by: FastTerp | August 25, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Ralph made a poor choice in selecting Steffy as the starter and has doomed maryland to a 6 win season at best. We have all seen what Steffy can do in games and it isnt very impressive unless you enjoy watching 3 yard dump offs to running backs. He cannot get the ball downfield, he panics in the pocket, has not game sense, and isnt even a running threat anymore after numerous injuries. Is Chris Turner the next Neil O'donnell--hardly, but at least he has shown flashes of being a good college QB and he has won a couple big games. Ralph went with his heart and not with what made sense. Turner still has another year after this one so there is room for improvement if he played. I am obviously not the coach, but I could care less how Steffy looks in practice. Do you think all the people at the games are going to care that Steffy is a great practice player when they are struggling to move the ball against Delaware?

Posted by: zman | August 26, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

TerpfanMA - your memory is a bit fuzzy. The Terps were never adding to their win totals while playing Michigan and Penn State. Prior to 2001 the last time the Terps won even 8 games was 1985, when they went 9-3. Their three losses? Penn State, Michigan, Miami. Yes, they beat WVU, which went 7-3-1 but did not go to a bowl game. For going 6-0 in the ACC the Terps were rewarded with a trip to the Cherry Bowl, where they defeated Syracuse. I don't think they ever got paid for that trip, either, since the Cherry Bowl went belly up.

Now there are 8 conference games, and everyone schedules OOC games against teams from lesser conferences, plus one or two marquee games. It's just the change in the landscape. Not to mention that Miami, VT, and BC, who used to be OOC games "back in the day" you are referencing, are now conference games. Also, Florida State was added as a conference game at the same time Penn State was dropped from the schedule.

Posted by: Jack | August 26, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

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