Maryland is nearly halfway through its season with a true freshman starting at quarterback.
And, unsurprisingly, Perry Hills has played like a true freshman quarterback at times in just about every game.
That includes Saturday’s 19-14 defeat of Wake Forest, when Hills managed to do enough to coax the offense to a couple touchdowns and a pair of field goals. For the day, he was 14 of 25 for 191 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also took three sacks.
“Perry’s got to get more consistent,” coach Randy Edsall said. “I love Perry to death, we love him to death but he’s missing some things out there. He could make it a lot easier on himself and we could be more productive offensively if he throws some of the check downs and just goes where he’s supposed to with the ball and just makes some better reads.”
Hills has seven touchdowns and six interceptions for Maryland (3-2, 1-0 ACC), completing 57.7 percent of his attempts. He’s taken all but one snap on the season despite absorbing 19 sacks.
At the same time, Maryland has shown itself to have limitations as an offense. The Terps’ season-high in total yardage is 351, and they’ve managed to win twice with less than 250 yards total offense.
That’s not a feat they can realistically expect to replicate often in the second half of the season.
“There’s definitely so much I can get better on with what coach [Mike] Locksley‘s been teaching me,” Hills said. “Just hitting the check-down would help a lot. I’m just going to continue to work hard and study hill and progress throughout the games.”
It’s hardly all Hills’ fault, considering the youth around him. Maryland started two freshmen on the offensive line. Its freshman tailbacks combined for 20 carries and 31 yards.
Hills has already logged far more time than anyone would have guessed when he arrived for preseason camp in August. Junior C.J. Brown‘s knee injury changed the learning curve for Hills.
If Maryland is to find a way to make a bowl, he will need to take further steps in the second half of the season.
“We just have to continue to work with him,” Edsall said. “He is a tough kid, but some of those things he brings on himself because he’s not doing everything exactly the way it needs to be done. As we continue to go forward, we need to eliminate those things.”
—- Patrick Stevens