Shoulder sprain may sideline Hollenbach

Hurt vs. Va. Tech, Terps QB could miss Fla. State

October 22, 2005|By HEATHER A. DINICH | HEATHER A. DINICH,SUN REPORTER

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland suddenly might have to give its quarterback duties to a redshirt candidate or a former starter who lost his job.

Junior Sam Hollenbach suffered a sprained left shoulder during the Terps' 28-9 loss to No. 3 Virginia Tech on Thursday night and will be out until Wednesday. Terps coach Ralph Friedgen said yesterday that if Hollenbach can't practice at full speed on Wednesday, he'll have to make a decision as to whether he can play next Saturday against Florida State.

"If he can have a full practice Wednesday, we'll be OK," Friedgen said.

If not, Friedgen will have to choose from two quarterbacks who, combined, have 17 career interceptions and eight touchdowns. The backup is former starter Joel Statham, who was replaced after he threw 15 interceptions and only eight touchdown passes in 10 games in 2004. Friedgen said he would consider starting sophomore Jordan Steffy against the Seminoles if Hollenbach is unable to play.

"We're going to try and redshirt him, but that doesn't mean we're going to," Friedgen said of Steffy, who hasn't played since he was injured last year against Virginia Tech.

Hollenbach leads the Atlantic Coast Conference in total offense with an average of 264 yards per game. He appeared to have sustained the injury on Maryland's third possession of the game, when he took off for a career-long 22-yard run out of the option and earned a first down from a second-and-14 situation. Virginia Tech sophomore linebacker Vince Hall tackled Hollenbach from behind.

"It looked like he was trying to strip the ball," Friedgen said. "Sam had the ball in his left hand. He drove him down onto his left shoulder. I think that's when it happened. I didn't even know he was hurt at that time. The trainers came up to me while the defense was on the field. At that point in time, I went and told Joel to start warming up."

And Hollenbach sneaked into the trainer's room to be evaluated. He went back into the game on the Terps' following possession, though, and finished with 158 passing yards and one touchdown on 14 completions out of 30 passes. It was his lowest offensive output of the season. It was a rough day for Hollenbach against one of the top defenses in the country, as he was sacked a season-high four times for a loss of 28 yards.

Statham's only playing time this season came Oct. 8 in the fourth quarter against Temple, when he completed three of six passes for 24 yards. He also fumbled the ball twice. When asked if he felt comfortable with Statham as a backup, Friedgen said, "I have to say yes."

Hollenbach has been the difference-maker in the Terps' offense this season, but after Maryland's loss to Virginia Tech, he, too, now has thrown more interceptions (nine) than touchdowns (eight) this season. Two were against the Hokies. He was unavailable following the game because he was in the trainer's room.

"What Sam did show me yesterday was a lot of heart," Friedgen said. "He had a bad shoulder. I don't know if that caused a lot of throws to be errant or not, but he didn't make any excuses about that. He showed me a lot of guts to want to stay in there against a very aggressive team. He just wasn't as sharp as he normally is."

Regardless of who is playing quarterback against the Seminoles, the Terps will have their work cut out for them in Tallahassee. Florida State leads the league in total offense and pass offense. The Seminoles are also second in the Atlantic Coast Conference with an average of 33.3 points per game, while holding opponents to an average of 16 points per game.

"I think it's good we rebound against another tough team like this," Maryland safety Milton Harris said. "It would show the character in our team, what type of team we have. Are we going to go down there and just hope to get the win, or are we going to respond from [this game], see we can play with some of the top teams in the nation, and go out there and get the job done? I think we will do that."

Maryland has four games remaining, three of them on the road. The Terps still need two wins to become eligible for a bowl appearance.

heather.dinich@baltsun.com

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