There was nothing pretty about the way Maryland beat William & Mary last week, most especially on offense.
Growing pains are to be expected when there are so many young, inexperienced players seeing time. Maryland started a true freshman at quarterback in Perry Hills, and running back in Albert Reid. In all, 12 true freshmen played for the Terps last week. It has been 12 years since so many true freshmen saw the field in the opener in College Park.
But as always, the spotlight always falls onto the quarterback, whether you are a true freshman or senior. With Hills in charge, the offense only managed one score, and it came in the fourth quarter after trailing for most of the game. One score and 236 yards against an FCS opponent is not the way Maryland needed to start the season. Nor are all the turnovers -- four of them to be exact. Hills had three interceptions and Reid had a fumble.
So to say there is a lot of work to be done before its game against Temple on Saturday is to say the sun rises in the morning. But Edsall has been encouraged with the way Hills has put his debut game behind him during his preparations this week.
"He knows he has a lot of things to work on and improve, but he is one of those guys who can put it in the rear-view mirror pretty quickly," Edsall said this week. "I think that was evident by what took place on Saturday with the lack of success, so to speak, in the first half. He ended up putting it behind him. After the other interception to start the second half he takes the team down for a score. His demeanor and his approach have been very good. It’s what you expect from a freshman for his first start, to learn from it, make the corrections, and work to get better at the things you can control."
Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley said he thought Hills got rattled early in the game because of all the pressure William & Mary brought his way. He also thought Hills was a play behind in making his adjustments, something he has spoken to his quarterback about this week.
For his part, Hills said he has spent extra time going over the game tape to see how he can play better against the Owls. One of the biggest things he learned was the need to shrug off mistakes during the game.
"I know that if you keep thinking about it, it’s going to ruin you for the rest of the game," Hills said. "I have to put it behind me; it’s something as a quarterback that you have to learn to do. Sometimes bad things are going to happen, and you just have to learn how to deal with it, move on, and play each play."