- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 1, 2005

Maryland’s quarterback dilemma will remain unresolved until August after Sam Hollenbach and Joel Statham posted nearly identical stats yesterday to keep their competition even as the Terrapins finished spring practice.

Statham led the Red team to a 21-10 victory over the White with a strong late showing before an announced 4,153 at Byrd Stadium.

Statham was 14 of 26 for 149 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Hollenbach completed 16 of 26 for 150 yards with one touchdown for the White squad. Hollenbach entered as the slight favorite, but coach Ralph Friedgen wouldn’t anoint him as the front-runner.

“I don’t think anybody is the outright leader,” Friedgen said. “Both of them have to get better for us to be what we want to be, but we’re a lot better than last year.”

The Terps showed some progress over last season’s 5-6 team despite heavy losses along the offensive and defensive lines, in the secondary and at running back. The malaise that gripped some veterans last season following three straight bowl appearances has been replaced by a younger roster looking for its chances.

“Overall, I’m happy where we’re at,” Friedgen said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to become a real good football team, but I think we made progress this spring.”

Both passers have improved since last season when Hollenbach started the final game after Statham’s five turnovers the previous week exiled him to the bench. Mostly, the two aren’t making mistakes that haunted the Terps last season.

Hollenbach hit receiver JoJo Walker for a 2-yard touchdown in the corner after being flushed from the pocket on third down. Statham recovered from a missed handoff to throw a 6-yard touchdown on the following play.

“We had one turnover and a couple of missed reads and a couple of situations they could have played better,” Friedgen said, “but I didn’t think they did anything that would cause us to lose a game.”

Both quarterbacks conceded the competition must continue, perhaps until the opener against Navy on Sept.3.

“As much as I would have liked to do some things different today, the bottom line is, Coach has to make the decision [who starts],” Hollenbach said.

Said Statham: “I’m really not sure [how I did]. That interception is what’s been haunting me the whole time. I feel like I did OK.”

Keon Lattimore may have solved the Terps’ running back opening. Lattimore gained 64 yards on 15 carries while playing for both sides. His 3-yard touchdown run and stiff-arming of cornerback Kevin Barnes approaching the goal line showed the toughness and speed that might move him ahead of Mario Merrills, who gained 62 yards on 11 carries.

“Both Mario and Keon impressed me,” Friedgen said. “Keon doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. You’re always going to need two running backs.”

Notes — The Terps suffered three serious injuries, though no one will miss the Aug. 9 opening of summer camp. Linebacker William Kershaw suffered a hip pointer, tight end Brad Schell broke his collarbone and cornerback Richard Taylor sprained his knee. …

Friedgen opposes the NCAA’s addition of a 12th regular-season game in 2006, saying player eligibility should be increased from four to five years to offset injuries. Maryland is expected to announce another home game for 2006 in coming days after already having completed a deal with a non-conference team.

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