I thought Maryland fans had suffered enough. Did the sports gods not notice the living hell we went through with basketball recruiting? The Wake Forest game last year? The intro post further describing all these horrors?
Apparently they did. Or maybe each sport has different gods, and the football gods got bored and said, "I’ve got a good idea. Let’s screw over UMD and throw Jordan Steffy in at QB." "Yeah, let’s watch ‘em squirm!"
Does it sound like I’m bitter? Well, I am. I’m sure you’ve heard that Ralph put Jordan Steffy in at the QB starter over Chris Turner. And if you’re not pissed off, something’s wrong. Or you’re a UVA fan.
There can be very little doubt at this point in the year – Jordan Steffy will cost us games. At least one. We’ve seen him before – watch the Wake Forest game last year. Then watch the Rutgers game. Heck, compare the Rutgers game from before Steffy’s injury to after it. The difference is incredible.
I’m not saying Chris Turner is perfect. He’s not. He makes a lot of mistakes, he doesn’t practice well, he has some mental lapses. But no one in their right mind would assert that Steffy’s better. (Yes, I just called Ralph Friedgen insane.) Steffy has two problems – he sometimes refuses to throw into coverage, so unless someone’s wide open, he’ll probably be sacked or throw the ball away. If he actually does throw the ball, he tends to put it right in the DB’s hands, unless it’s only 5 yards downfield. No, this really isn't hyperbole.
Turner, on the hand, wins ballgames. That’s what the kid does. He might not be the prototypical QB, but he’s a gamer. Steffy is so afraid to make a mistake that that’s almost everything he does. When he doesn’t, it’s because he didn’t take the chance.
Who knows, Steffy might win us a game that turner would’ve lost us. But I can pretty much guarantee that he’ll lose the Terps at least one game, probably two, that otherwise would’ve been a win.
This goes deeper than wins and losses. This really, really does hurt recruiting. Compare a school like Maryland to, say, North Carolina. Say a QB is looking at both schools. Similar systems, playing time would be similar, UNC is on the way up. UMD is desperate for a good QB right now. Similar, right? But Fridge has set a precedent: he plays favorites. If he doesn’t like you, no matter how many highly-ranked teams you beat and how many games the backup blows, the backup will start, especially if Fridge likes him. This will hurt recruiting, and that’s something we don’t need right now.
It also makes me think Fridge will be gone soon. Even someone as senile as Debbie Yow can tend to be (see: Evans, Tyrell; Gilchrest, Gus) would eventually realize that Fridge has to have some problems if he’s putting in someone who was 0-2 against DI schools not from the Sun Belt over someone who went 4-4 to close the season, with wins over two top ten ranked teams. I can’t fathom it.
Perhaps if you look at what Fridge says, it’ll make more sense.
It was a hard decision. We talked about it for a long time last night. We looked at every statistic that we kept, from pass completions, yards per catch, yards after catch, interceptions, percentage of drives scoring, good practices and bad practices. We even consulted with some of the players.
Really, when you look at all the data, Jordan Steffy has earned the spot. He was ahead in almost every category.
Well, does it help you understand? It doesn’t for me. Maybe if Fridge looked at something other than stats, and maybe at the games as a whole, he'd understand better. I’m not sure that Ralph understands that wins are more important than individual stats. I also like how he says, "We even consulted with some of the players." Really, Ralph? Shouldn’t that have been one of the first thing’s you did? It’s like he just tacked it on the end of the paragraph, like he realized, "Crap, some of these guys might have opinions." I can’t think of a player that would suggest Steffy over Turner, unless they enjoy losing.
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m angry. I think this will cost Maryland a few games. I think Steffy will end up nowhere near as good as Turner. I think Turner may transfer (and probably should). But I’m not perfect. It’s wholly possible that Steffy leads the team to a better year than Turner. And if it happens, I’ll eat my hat. I guess I’m lucky that the chance of it happening is .1%.