Thursday, August 06, 2009

The enigmatic Chris Turner

Quarterback Chris Turner is entering his third season as a starter and has the most starts(20) at QB in the ACC behind Wake Forest's Riley Skinner(37) and Duke's Thaddeus Lewis(34). The interview Turner did with the ACC Sports Journal is emblematic of the way he plays on the field too. His answers were low key and understated and after reading it you were left with a feeling that the quarterback had moved up and down the field but had not finished off any points with a touchdown. He has said before he might like to get into politics so he has the round-about-non-answer down pat. Turner is a likable kid and I've always been a strong advocate that he was the best answer at quarterback for the Terps. Neither Jordan Steffy or Josh Portis could do all the things they needed to in whatever offense Maryland was running at the time. While Turner has understood what the quarterback needed to do in the system he has been unable to produce offensive fireworks. Consistency has certainly been a bugaboo for Turner. His success against ranked teams has been well documented but he is also capable of putting out stinkers like his three interception performance against Middle Tennessee State. I expected more consistency from Turner as a junior last year but he couldn't deliver a reliable performance from week to week. It didn't help that there were times it seemed offensive coordinator/coach in waiting James Franklin didn't know what he wanted to do on offense either but Turner should have done better.

The real problem with Turner and something that has really held this team back is the lack of an aerial attack on the endzone. Turner ranks sixth in Maryland history in passing yards and could end the season as the number two all time passer behind Scott Milanovich. The numbers tell a different story when you look at the touchdown percentage of the top ten passers in Maryland history, by yards.

Quarterback (years)Touchdown %
Scott McBrien (2001-3)5.7
Boomer Esiason (1981-83)4.9
Scott Milanovich (1992-95)4.9
Stan Gelbaugh (1981-85)4.4
Sam Hollenbach (2003-06)4.1
Neil O'Donnell (1987-89)3.9
Dan Henning (1985-87)3.7
Brian Cummings (1994-97)3.7
John Kaleo (1991-92)3.4
Chris Turner(2007-present)2.7

It isn't fair to blame everything on the quarterback as the shaky offensive line, unreliable running game, and indecisive playcalling have all hurt Turner's production but so far he hasn't been able to succeed in having the offense be good at the most important thing, scoring points.

News & Notes
There have been some rumors reported in the New York Post that Maryland or Boston College might be in the sights of the Big East so that they could expand to nine football programs. I don't think this is anything more than speculation and would be shocked if Maryland's administration would consider it seriously. It isn't such an easy call to dismiss the merits of such a move as you might think. The expansion of the ACC has been a failure in almost every sense and Maryland's influence and status in the league has been dwindling steadily over the last few years. Maryland is far from a "southern" school in either its culture or traditions and the league expansion, regardless of the ridiculous inclusion of Boston College, has only served to solidify the ACC's southern leanings.

For her part athletic director Debbie Yow characterized the rumors as "silliness" and then went on to write to the Baltimore Sun that the school does not respond to anonymous rumors as a "basic principle." I guess the basic principle of not responding to anonymous rumors is trumped by the basic principle that the athletic director should promote herself at every opportunity.

I've also got a message for the ACC: forget getting SEC television money for a football product that the fans of the league can barely get excited about.

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