So how, exactly, does the first true freshman quarterback to start an opener at Maryland celebrate a victory in his first game?
Turns out Perry Hills went to Applebee’s with his family after helping Maryland upend William & Mary 7-6. There’s was just one problem.
“I was pretty exhausted,” said Hills, who picked a Cowboy Burger off the menu since it was the first thing he spotted after sitting down. “I almost fell asleep in there waiting for my food.”
It was one of the handful of moments he could take his mind off football. But while it might be tempting to dwell on the three interceptions he threw against the Tribe, he’s mostly shrugged off the struggles and looked ahead to this week’s visit to Temple.
Hills was 16 of 24 for 145 yards in his debut, with two of his three interceptions coming in the first quarter.
“One play I tried to throw the ball away while being tackled,” Hills said. “One play I just missed the read. Just mistakes that easily can be fixed. I just watched the tape and see what I can get better and move on.”
There was plenty to learn from the opener. Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley observed it was the first live action Hills received since arriving in College Park over the summer. Throughout camp, Hills always wore a yellow non-contact jersey and could safely look downfield and not concern himself with getting hit.
Locksley praised Hills’ grasp of the offense, but acknowledged there is still a ways for the western Pennsylvania product to go.
“I always felt like he was a play behind in the adjustments,” Locksley said. “Prime example was right before the half, he had a wide open [Kevin] Dorsey in the end zone for a slant and he threw it to the bubble and Marcus [Leak] got tackled for a three-yard gain when Kevin was wide open in the end zone.. We make an adjustment at halftime and the interception he threw in the third quarter, he threw it to the slant when he should have thrown it to the bubble. Those are the little nuances of coaching a young quarterback.”
Such problem are always easier to handle in a victory. But either way, it was a tiresome three hours for Hills, who isn’t dwelling on the mistakes of his debut.
“I’ve been dreaming about this my whole life,” Hills said. “I’ve always wanted to do it. I just look at it as an opportunity.”
—- Patrick Stevens