- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 21, 2005

Maryland quarterback Sam Hollenbach continued his rise from caretaker to playmaker yesterday.

The junior threw three touchdowns in an intrasquad scrimmage at Byrd Stadium, an enticement for coach Ralph Friedgen to rely on the passing game more than expected this season.

“If there’s been a bright spot in camp, it’s Sam Hollenbach,” Friedgen said. “Sam had two poor judgments [overall], but I’m getting picky.”

Hollenbach completed 10 of 13 for 170 yards with the three touchdowns, including a 70-yarder to freshman receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. Hollenbach also found tight end Dan Gronkowski for a 5-yard score along with another touchdown to receiver Derrick Fenner.

“We had a little bit of excitement,” said Hollenbach with a sly grin. “We feel pretty confident [of scoring] no matter what problems we have on the line.”

Hollenbach’s continued improvement was welcomed because of problems with the outside running game. The Terps are bedeviled by coordination between the tight end, fullback and offensive line after extensive injuries in the past two weeks. Friedgen said Lance Ball made the biggest stride among tailbacks after gaining 31 yards on 12 carries. Keon Lattimore gained 20 yards on eight carries, while Mario Merrills didn’t play with a sprained ankle.

“Lance is making a move right now,” Friedgen said. “He has a little juice.”

Heyward-Bey also enjoyed more playing time, especially after receivers Danny Melendez (knee) and Jo Jo Walker (bruised hip) were idled by injuries. Heyward-Bey stretched a 5-yard reception past two defenders for a 70-yard score.

The kicking competition also remains close. Obi Egekeze converted four of five field goals, including 47- and 49-yarders. Dan Ennis made five of six, including 46- and 49-yarders. Friedgen isn’t expected to select one until shortly before the Sept.3 season opener against Navy.

“The battle’s still on,” Friedgen said. “I’m amazed at Dan. I remember when he came here, he couldn’t hit a 15-yarder. Now he’s kicking a 49. We’re better than what I thought we’d be at this point in the kicking game.”

Notes — Cornerback Richard Taylor will miss two weeks with a broken hand, while Fenner strained his hamstring. Guard Garrick Clig (sprained knee) might return soon after the injury wasn’t as serious as initially feared. Melendez has opted against knee surgery that would sideline him four weeks. Walker is day-to-day after bruising his hip Friday. … Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and defensive end Jermaine Lemons were excused to attend funerals.

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