- The Washington Times - Friday, September 8, 2006

Whatever unusual schemes the Maryland football team plans to run this season certainly weren’t on display in Saturday’s season opener.

Quarterback Sam Hollenbach morphed into a handoff machine. The Terrapins’ tailback committee rumbled past the overwhelmed William & Mary defense. Maryland threw for 4 yards in the second half and would have seemed right at home in the pre-forward pass era of a century earlier.

That might not change much tomorrow when the Terps (1-0) meet Middle Tennessee (1-0) at Byrd Stadium.

Maryland discovered a successful formula early in the opener and likely will attempt to establish the run quickly against the Blue Raiders. Yet the concern of showing too much of the offense before next week’s trip to No. 6 West Virginia probably led even more to an efficient, yet boring, display.

“Nah, we didn’t want to show all our guns in the first week against William & Mary,” sophomore wide receiver Danny Oquendo said. “[Coach Ralph Friedgen’s] probably trying to save his trickery, and that’s probably for the better.”

There were a few exciting plays that didn’t originate in handoffs. Hollenbach was drilled as he made long completions to Oquendo and tight end Joey Haynos and also found Isaiah Williams on a fly route just before halftime.

Otherwise, it was, in Friedgen’s own word, “vanilla.” But it wasn’t as if the Terps didn’t enjoy the victory or the prospect of a similar game tomorrow.

“Being an offensive lineman, we like the basic stuff,” left guard Donnie Woods said. “We like the leads and slant leads and the plays we’re just going to hand it off to the running backs and come off the ball. We don’t like that cute stuff, the screens. But it’s in the offense, so you have to run it.”

Though not always. The Terps ran the ball 40 times and attempted 20 passes. That ratio was relatively common in Friedgen’s first two seasons. But Maryland managed to run twice as many plays on the ground only five times the last three seasons and just once (a victory at Wake Forest) last year.

The Terps last week actually threw for more yards than they ran for in the first half against William & Mary but turned heavily to the run after the break.

“That wasn’t really what our plan was, going into last week, but it turned out to be,” Hollenbach said. “We always have to prepare for a fairly balanced game plan, but it will all depend on what he wants to do on Saturday.”

He, of course, is Friedgen, who would rather not tip off West Virginia to any unusual offensive concoctions if he can help it. But he will open things up if the situation warrants it.

“West Virginia is West Virginia. I’ll worry about them on Sunday,” Friedgen said. “Right now I’m worried about Middle Tennessee, and I’m going to do what I have to do to win this game. We’ll worry about the ramifications after that. If we have to pull out every trick in the book, we will.”

Notes — Maryland safety Marcus Wimbush faces three misdemeanor charges stemming from an incident last fall at the Cornerstone Grill & Loft, the Baltimore Sun reported. Wimbush is charged with two counts of second-degree assault and a fourth-degree sex offense, and his trial is set for Jan. 26. …

Senior wide receiver Drew Weatherly underwent surgery to insert a screw to correct a stress fracture in his right foot. Weatherly is expected to miss at least two weeks.

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