"He's from Southern California, has curly blonde hair and can appear as placid as a sunset over the beach."
No, that's not me describing my dream guy (well, actually, it is, except I'd never use "placid" in a sentence). It's how Baltimore Sun sportswriter Jeff Parker described Chris Turner, aka "Sunshine," aka the starting quarterback for the Maryland Terrapins...at least this week.
All preseason, I felt like I was watching Ralph Friedgen juggle quarterbacks (literally - I kept picturing the Fridge juggling tiny Terp action figures), waiting to see which one he was able to catch on the way down. Of course, I should've guessed it would be Jordan Steffy. He's been Ralph's guy all along, despite missing half of last season with one of many concussions.
But that last half of the season, when Steffy was still clearing the cobwebs upstairs, who was QB 1? My boy Chris Turner. Ok, so I admit he was no Lou Gehrig to Steffy's Wally Pipp, but he held his own out there. There were some flashes of really fabulous quarterbacking, even if they were balanced with some really boneheaded decisions.
Not having any inside information or any expertise, I still think it was a boneheaded decision was giving Steffy the starting job last week. Yes, he had the "all clear" from the doctors who assured his mama and Big Fridge his skull would protect his brain this time around. Yes, he's waited so long for this opportunity, etc., etc.
But it should've been Turner's opportunity to squander. He proved he was, at the very least, a capable quarterback, and he proved it in game situations, not in practice. Yes, if he'd played abysmally in preseason practices, he should've lost the job but he didn't play abysmally (if he had, Fridge wouldn't have hedged so long on naming the starter).
Turner did, however, fail to win the starting job in week one. It was billed as an open competition, a toss-up (maybe that's where I came up with the juggling idea), but it seemed to me like it was Steffy's job to lose. Hey, maybe I'm just biased (the whole blond curly hair really messes with my judgment sometimes), but I think if you earned your spot by playing in games, it should be your spot until you demonstrate otherwise.
For awhile there, I was holding my breath, worrying Curly Top was going to be on the next flight back to the West Coast, but he stuck it out and now he's getting the opportunity he should've had from week one. It's unfortunate that Steffy can't seem to catch a break and stay healthy. It's also a bummer CT doesn't feel he's truly earned the job, because he's stepping in for Steffy rather than starting because he was truly QB 1.
If I was writing the script for "Dr. Lou," my advice for my boy CT would be this: It's yours now, baby. How and when you got the opportunity is not important if you make the most of it when you get on the field, so go out there and show them why you should've been QB 1 since last week, and why they should be really freakin' glad you stuck around.
More QB problems
I'm not even going into the Ravens' issues right now - that's another story entirely - but it's not just a Maryland thang.
South Carolina's having some problems at that position, and yall know no one plays Musical Quarterback more than Steve Spurrier. Chris Smelley played quite a bit last season but his five interceptions in a preseason scrimmage made Tommy Beecher first-string. And then he threw four in the Gamecocks' week one win over N.C. State before being injured. Smelley came in during the 4th quarter and neatly moved the team down the field for a nice, tidy touchdown.
Guess who started game two? Not Tommy Beecher. Guess who threw two interceptions (and got really lucky it wasn't more)? Also not Tommy Beecher. And who led the Gamecocks to its 2nd straight loss to Vanderbilt? Yep, you got it. Not Tommy Beecher.
Perhaps Smelley has Joba Chamberlain syndrome - superb in relief but less impressive in the starting line-up. So far, Smelley has better stats, but they average his sharp performance in game one with Thursday night's stinker, and he is the one with the loss. Any guesses on what'll happen against Georgia next week?