- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2001

Maryland scaled back its offense last week in preparation for Eastern Michigan and the result was a fiery display in the Terrapins' 50-3 torching of the Eagles.
Quarterback Shaun Hill found his rhythm after the passing attack sputtered in its season-opening win over North Carolina. So what did Maryland improve on in the passing game?
"Everything," Terps coach Ralph Friedgen said. "The passing game last week, we didn't have any protection. We didn't have any timing. We ran poor routes. We didn't read right. We had poor throws. [Saturday], we simplified some. We took the protection down. We were probably asking them to do too much… . We went back and simplified."
Hill broke out of his slump by completing 15 of 21 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown, and regularly converted third downs to keep drives alive. The senior also suffered from three dropped passes, otherwise he would've been near perfect. His top target was Guilian Gary, who had six catches for 76 yards.
"I don't know if it was clearer pictures or just a clearer mind," said Hill, who completed 10 of 26 passes for 86 yards against North Carolina. "Last week, we faced a good defense that had a great pass rush. This week, our offensive line did a great job holding the guys out and keeping the passing lanes clear. I was able to see my reads and deliver the ball. My receivers ran good routes."
Hill also found another dependable receiver in Daryl Whitmer, who had three receptions for 69 yards. The seldom-used senior had two catches on third-and-long situations to keep two touchdown drives going. The first was a 17-yard pick up on a crossing pattern in the game's first series. The next came on a third-and-25 in the second quarter when he caught a deep pass down the right sideline for a 30-yard gain. Maryland scored later in that drive to go up 19-0.
Friedgen attributes part of Hill's slow start to struggling with the increased responsibility of a much-more intricate offense, with more reads and decisions on every play. Last week, the coach saw a more decisive and patience quarterback.
"Sometimes he rushes when he sees a guy open and tries to throw right away rather than go through his mechanics," said Friedgen, who felt Hill also did a better job selling fakes. "We simplified things a little bit. He handled it better and seemed more comfortable."
The Terps defense was dominant for the second straight game, and the Maryland running game, spearheaded by an experienced front line, also had another strong outing as sophomore tailback Bruce Perry had 133 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries.
However, Maryland's passing game was anemic against North Carolina before a fourth-quarter rally. It surrendered sacks and missed passes regularly before clicking in the fourth quarter. With few consistent results in the opener, Friedgen simplified the playbook for Eastern Michigan.
"Coach wanted to polish things first before we moved on," said Gary, who had an acrobatic 19-yard touchdown catch. "Now that we've polished things, he's going to add some more things for the West Virginia game."
Notes Reserve quarterback Chris Kelley, who missed the entire preseason and first two weeks of the season after undergoing knee surgery last month, warmed up before the Eastern Michigan game. Friedgen said that doctors have cleared the redshirt freshman to drop back and throw, but little else. It is unclear if Kelley will need surgery again this fall… .
The kicking game is the biggest concern for the Terps. Freshman Nick Novak's starting job is in jeopardy after he missed all four of his field goal tries in the first two games. The team also botched an extra-point attempt with a bad snap and had another extra-point blocked… .
Quarterback Latrez Harrison's fumble in the fourth quarter was the Terps' first turnover of the season. Maryland has five takeaways all interceptions as Tony Okanlawon and Tyrone Stewart added pickoffs on Saturday… .
Maryland went over 40,000 in attendance in back-to-back games for the first time since 1995 when it drew 42,105 fans against Eastern Michigan.


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