Terp paying for hits in pocket

Hollenbach says it's worth the cost to move offense

College football


COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland quarterback Sam Hollenbach sat on his bed, his chest and shoulder wrapped in a contraption that pumps a steady flow of ice water from the rectangular container next to him through a vacuum-like hose and into the "sleeve" around his shoulder.

The Game Ready Accelerated Recovery System is like a blood-pressure cuff that tightens around Hollenbach's injured left shoulder, easing the pain. Using the $2,000 machine has become routine.

So have the hits he's been taking lately.

"You really don't get to see how hard he gets hit during the game," said senior receiver Danny Melendez, one of Hollenbach's roommates, "but when you see it on film, you wonder how he gets up."

Hollenbach has been sacked 17 times this year in eight games, but said it's part of his job, and worth the sacrifice. He's been a little slower getting up lately, though, since he sprained a joint in his shoulder Oct. 20 against Virginia Tech.

"I don't really care, as long as we're moving the ball and the chains," he said. "I'll take the hit if we can complete the pass."

Sophomore Andrew Crummey said the offensive line "can only do so much" to protect him.

"He's someone who stands in there, takes the hit and throws the ball, which is a double-edged sword," Crummey said. "It's great he's willing to take a hit for the team, but the potential for him getting hurt is great."

Hollenbach was talking with his grandfather on Sunday, after Hollenbach had been sacked three times by North Carolina's defense. Hollenbach said he was feeling more pain than he had the previous week.

"After the UNC game, he said, `I remember when you said you forgot what it felt like to take a hit,'" Hollenbach said. "He said, `I bet you want to feel that again.'"

"Three sacks in a game, that's not good," said Terps offensive line coach Tom Brattan. "We're very concerned. The reality is it [pass protection] is a point of emphasis this week."

It needs to be with a defensive end the caliber of Boston College senior Mathias Kiwanuka coming after Hollenbach at full speed Saturday. Kiwanuka, who was recently named the Atlantic Coast Conference's defensive lineman of the week, is fourth in the conference with seven sacks (five unassisted). He also has 13 tackles for losses, pushing opponents back 54 yards.

The longer the pass play, the longer Hollenbach has to stand there. Not much is said following the kind of hit that knocked Hollenbach back 9 yards last weekend at North Carolina.

"Sam knows," Crummey said. "It's understood. It's regretful, but things happen."

In addition to the medication he's been directed to take at home, and the Game Ready machine, Hollenbach is still receiving between 1 and 2 1/2 hours of treatment every day, depending on his schedule.

"I don't want to let the team down in any way," he said. "If I have a chance to be a leader on the field and step up and take some hits along the way, I'll definitely take that."

Notes -- Junior corner Josh Wilson, who suffered a concussion Saturday against North Carolina, has been cleared to play this weekend against Boston College. ... Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said he does not expect to replace place-kicker Dan Ennis, even though Friedgen reopened the competition. Ennis missed two field goals and an extra point last weekend.


Boston College @Maryland Saturday, noon, Ch. 13, 1300 AM, 105.7 FM Line: BC by 2 1/2

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.