COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -Jordan Steffy has played in only seven games since arriving at Maryland in 2004. He has completed fewer than a third of his 37 passes, been intercepted twice and hasn't thrown for a touchdown.
Given those unsightly numbers - and the fact that Steffy has minus-31 yards on 24 carries - and it becomes clear there must be some other reason why the 6-foot-1 junior stood atop the depth chart when the Terrapins opened summer practice Monday.
Steffy's advantage over transfer Josh Portis and redshirt sophomore Chris Turner can be summed up in one word: experience. Steffy doesn't have impressive statistics, but he's the only guy in the bunch to throw a pass in a Maryland uniform.
``My time here has definitely helped me,'' Steffy said. ``It's put me in the position I'm in today.''
Yes, Steffy is the front-runner to be the starting quarterback in the Sept. 1 opener against Villanova. But coach Ralph Friedgen has yet to formally name a successor to Sam Hollenbach, who last season led Maryland to a 9-4 record and a 24-7 victory over Purdue in the Champs Sports Bowl.
The winner of the quarterback competition will get the chance to run a veteran-laden offense that returns its two top rushers (Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore) and two leading receivers (Darrius Heyward-Bey and Joey Haynos).
``I'm not going to take a whole lot of time to make a decision,'' Friedgen said. ``At least a week, maybe a little bit more. But we have to start focusing in on who's the No. 1 guy.''
At this point, it's Steffy.
``The one thing I feel confident about, especially with Jordan, is he knows what to do,'' Friedgen said.
Instead of moping on the bench, Steffy watched and learned.
``I'm sitting on the sideline looking at the coverage and thinking, what would I have done there?'' he said. ``All that time on the sideline, it's definitely going to help me in the long run.''
After throwing 51 touchdown passes in high school, Steffy envisioned his college career getting off to a quicker start. But if he flourishes during his final two years at Maryland, the wait will be worth it.
``When I got here in my freshman year, did I think things would be different? Sure,'' he said. ``But the most important thing is realizing that God has a plan for me, to be patient and wait for my time. My time is now, so I'm excited about it.''
Friedgen didn't dismiss the idea of using both Steffy and Portis in the same game. It all depends on the speed in which the 6-foot-4 Portis learns the playbook and applies that knowledge on the field.
``I know the offense; when I get more comfortable it, I'll be fine,'' Portis said. ``We're both going to have opportunities. (Friedgen) will probably put both quarterbacks in the game to see how we do. Whoever performs the best, we go from there.''
The way Portis sees it, even if Friedgen picks a starter in August, things could change by September.
``Obviously, if we both do well in camp, nothing will be decided,'' Portis said. ``Game-time situations is what really matters. So, I think the first three games are going to be key. Whoever pulls away is going to be the man.''

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