Terps trust Statham

Now a backup, QB led Maryland to first win over Fla. State in '04


College Park -- It's not as if Maryland's backup quarterback can't beat a team the caliber of 10th-ranked Florida State. Joel Statham has already done that, in last year's 20-17 upset of the Seminoles.

It's just not the ideal situation for coach Ralph Friedgen heading into Saturday's pivotal game against the Atlantic Division-leading Seminoles. In Tallahassee. On Florida State's homecoming.

"I want to have Sam," Friedgen said yesterday of his injured starting quarterback, junior Sam Hollenbach.

Hollenbach, who sprained his left shoulder Thursday against Virginia Tech, remains questionable for Saturday's game.

Friedgen said Statham, the former starter, would take Hollenbach's place if he can't play.

Tailback Keon Lattimore also has an injured shoulder, and magnetic resonance imaging on Monday revealed a partial dislocation of a joint. He is listed as day-to-day and wasn't allowed any contact yesterday.

Hollenbach stood in a cold, steady drizzle at practice yesterday dressed in sweat pants and his varsity jacket, paying attention to each drill. He is expected to practice today and will be re-evaluated.

Meanwhile, the Terps have been preparing for one of the Atlantic Coast Conference's stingiest defenses with Statham, who was replaced as a sophomore last year after throwing 15 interceptions and only eight touchdowns.

Statham's best game last year came Oct. 30 against Florida State, when he threw for a career-high 333 yards and ran for his first touchdown, giving Maryland its first win in the series.

"He beat us to death last year," Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden said Sunday.

Statham said the memory of last year's performance has done wonders for his confidence.

"That's all the coaches have been talking about, telling me to do it again," he said. "Hopefully I'll be able to do that if I get a chance to play."

Friedgen said both Statham and sophomore Jordan Steffy have been splitting repetitions recently, but that Statham is his quarterback if Hollenbach can't play.

"We'll see how he does," Friedgen said. "I plan on him doing well. He should have a lot of confidence. He's been in the fire before. I'm prepared to go with him if that's what we gotta do."

Still, if Statham fumbles twice in less than a quarter, as he did earlier this season against Temple - his only game action since Nov. 18, 2004 - there is a chance Steffy could see playing time, too.

"We're trying to redshirt Jordan, but I'm going to do what I have to do to win football games," Friedgen said. "Both of them practiced very well [Monday] night. Both of them did very well in the two-minute drill. I thought they threw the ball in the rain pretty good.

"I'm anticipating them going in there, being prepared and ready to win a football game."

Senior receiver Derrick Fenner said the team is confident in either quarterback because each has his own strengths.

There is a reason, though, that Hollenbach is No. 2 in the conference with an average of 238.7 passing yards a game.

"Joel throws some good balls," Fenner said. "He's got a stronger arm than Sam. But Sam finds you open. He's more comfortable in the pocket. He sits back there and is poised. Sam can get you the ball."

That's why Friedgen wants him.

Note: -- Friedgen said kicker Obi Egekeze is still dealing with a nagging injury and is questionable for Saturday's game. Starter Dan Ennis has missed four of his past five field-goal attempts.


Maryland@ No. 10 Florida State Saturday, 3:30 p.m., chs. 2, 7, 1300 AM, 105.7 FM Line: Florida State by 17

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