Red-White adds gray to Terps' QB derby

Hollenbach gains ground

Statham slips in 1st half

College Football

April 25, 2004|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - If the Maryland quarterback situation was perfectly clear entering the annual Red-White Game yesterday, it emerged from the day slightly muddled.

Joel Statham, the holdover with the most experience, has the inside track to succeed Scott McBrien as the 2004 starter, but sophomore Sam Hollenbach made up some ground.

"I don't think Joel has the position sewed up," Terps coach Ralph Friedgen said after the White team romped over the Red, 33-7, before 18,238 sun-splashed spectators at Byrd Stadium. "I saw the gap narrow some. We'll wait and see."

Statham was most ineffective in the first half while running the first-team offense. He threw three interceptions and passed for a mere 28 yards.

"He was trying to force things, trying to make big plays instead of taking what the defense gave him," Friedgen said. "The first half wasn't indicative of the way he's been practicing."

The second half was the complete opposite. Shifting to the second unit, Statham connected on all five of his second-half throws, including two touchdown passes to Vernon Davis.

"I got all the jitters out," said Statham, a sophomore. "I was trying to be too perfect. In the second half, I just said no more of that and just played."

Said Davis: "He was like a little nervous. I was, too. So I was talking to him a little bit before we went in at the half. We were trying to keep each other up."

Hollenbach looked comfortable after tossing an early interception. Despite seeing one potential scoring pass dropped in the end zone, he steered the White to a 19-0 lead at the break.

In the third quarter, after switching sides, he teamed with Josh Allen on a 24-yard scoring play and finished the day 9-for-21 through the air.

"They want me to compete every day," Hollenbach said. "The coaches tell me to keep playing like I'm going to be the starter and I'm trying to keep that mind-set. They're definitely going to come out and say somebody will start. I'll just keep playing."

Meanwhile, linebacker D'Qwell Jackson continued to show why he is probably destined to be the next Maryland star on defense.

Jackson had two interceptions, both of Statham.

"He takes such pride in his preparation and his performance," Friedgen said. "He practices extremely well and he's always in a hitting position. A hamstring has been bothering him, but today he got it well."

Said Jackson: "All spring both sides have gotten after each other. Today the defense happened to win. We had a good outing"`

Gerrick McPhearson (Howard) returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown and Chris Kelley brought another one 35 yards to the opposing 1.

NOTES: Friedgen bemoaned seven turnovers, but overall labeled the game-type scrimmage a success. "We got something accomplished," he said. "Our young players were very noticeable and we had some bright spots on defense, especially in the secondary." ... Eight sacks were another concern, but Friedgen is stressing patience with the young offensive linemen. ... The game was lengthened when running time was eliminated in the second half because Friedgen wanted both teams to run at least 50 plays. ... Sophomore J.P. Humber made a strong bid for playing time by rushing for 80 yards on 13 carries to pace the ground game. Allen had 60 yards on seven tries. The top pass catcher was Drew Weatherly with four receptions.

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