- The Washington Times - Monday, July 25, 2005

HOT SPRINGS, Va. — Maryland quarterback Sam Hollenbach will open camp as the starter over Joel Statham and third-stringer Jordan Steffy.

Coach Ralph Friedgen said yesterday Hollenbach made fewer turnovers during offseason workouts for the Terrapins, who resume practicing Aug.9. However, Friedgen said he will remain open-minded through Maryland’s opener against Navy on Sept.3.

“Sam gives us the best chance by not making mistakes,” Friedgen said.

ACC teams gathered yesterday for the conference media kickoff abuzz over the addition of Boston College, which completed the league’s expansion to 12 teams and will allow for a football championship game.

Maryland is not expected to be named among the favorites for the Atlantic Division when the media preseason poll is announced today, but quarterbacking could make the difference after a 5-6 season.

Statham was benched after 15 interceptions and nearly as many fumbles last year. Hollenbach completed 16 of 27 for 164 yards in the season-ending 13-7 victory over Wake Forest and was steady during spring drills. That was enough for Friedgen to anoint Hollenbach, who considered transferring last year after falling to third on the depth chart.

“Perseverance,” Friedgen said. “That’s what he showed me.”

Offensive tackle Stephon Heyer said Hollenbach’s poise impressed his teammates.

“Sam did some amazing things in the last game — some senior-type moves,” Heyer said. “For him to do that was pretty amazing.”

Hollenbach is not especially vocal, but linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said the passer took on some off-field leadership roles to bolster teammates’ respect.

“Sam understands to be a leader he has to have the guys behind him,” Jackson said. “He understands it’s his job to lose.”

Note — Jackson said he returned for his senior year after an NFL panel rated him a high second-round draft choice. The linebacker is considered a possible All-American after leading the ACC with 123 tackles last season.

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