- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 23, 2004

Maryland linebacker David Holloway is in the family business — sports.

Fittingly, the third-generation athlete was born during a game. He spent his childhood in hockey arenas and football locker rooms. With one grandfather in the NHL and the other an Air Force colonel who flew combat missions in Vietnam, plus a father who played 10 years in the NFL and went to the Super Bowl, Holloway knew being a walk-on reserve wasn’t good enough.

“It’s a high standard,” he said. “Part of it is built into the genes, and the other part is just watching [my relatives]. They live by it.”

Holloway has emerged as one of the Terrapins’ playmakers as No.23 Maryland (2-1) prepares for Saturday’s game at Duke (0-3). The sophomore’s eight tackles against West Virginia last week gave him 19 in three games, third most on the team. It’s a big jump for a former scout team player who saw limited time in two games last year.

“This is my turn,” he said. “It was hard [not playing], but it made me a lot tougher. I learned not to quit even if things aren’t going your way. I’m a big-play person. I’ll show it this year.”

Holloway has a knack for hard hits and an instinct for the ball. Led by him, middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and outside linebacker William Kershaw, the Terps’ defense has been smothering. Offensive turnovers and defensive reserves have dropped Maryland’s overall rankings to the middle of the ACC, but Maryland’s starters usually have dominated.

“David doesn’t say a whole lot but plays very aggressively,” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “He might be better over a tight end than [predecessor] Leroy Ambush was. I don’t know if David’s the same out of space, but he’s instinctive. He gets in the lane for passes.”

Friedgen gave Holloway a scholarship last month as a reward. After all, Friedgen has been chasing the family for a generation. He recruited Holloway’s father, Brian, who was a standout offensive lineman at Potomac’s Winston Churchill High School in the 1970s. Brian became an All-American at Stanford instead but has been after Friedgen to come up with financial aid for David because there are seven other Holloway children.

“The scholarship meant a lot to me, but it wasn’t a huge surprise because [Friedgen] let me know when they first recruited me I had a chance,” David Holloway said. “Last spring he said if I did well in the summer again it would be there. When you’re a starter, it’s something you have.”

Holloway isn’t overwhelmed by his promotion. Maybe that’s because he has stood on the ice at old Boston Garden, where grandfather John “Pie” McKenzie scored 31 goals in 1970-71 as the highlight of his 21-year career with nine NHL and WHA teams. McKenzie also rode broncs on the rodeo circuit in the offseason.

Or perhaps David is taking things in stride because he met Bo Jackson and other NFL stars during his father’s days with the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Raiders.

“I’ve been around crowds all my life, so it’s nothing new to me,” Holloway said. “It was a little different [starting]. It was a feeling of ‘finally, I’m here doing it.’”

Holloway was a New York state scholar-athlete who earned 10 letters at a private high school in Albany. Opponents taunted that he wasn’t as good as his father, a five-time All-Pro guard who was part of New England’s 1985 Super Bowl run. Holloway also played hockey before choosing football, but it wasn’t a hard decision.

“My dad never forced me to do anything,” he said. “It was more fun than pressure from the family over football. He gives me a lot of help [with things] to look for. He’s right there for me.”

Holloway’s family also includes grandfather Wendell Holloway, a retired colonel who later became the president of Bowie State College. His three mentors have influenced him greatly.

“You look on one side, and it’s hockey, and [McKenzie] was more famous than my dad in Boston,” Holloway said. “We’re a very sports-oriented family. Athletics was more important, but it’s not like academics was never talked about. My dad told me to just do the best you can.”

Note — Defensive tackle Justin Duffie (Crohn’s disease) missed practice yesterday. Defensive end Kevin Eli (concussion) and Jackson (ankle) were limited.

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