COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley maintained Wednesday in speaking with the media that, had one or two things turned out another way for quarterback Perry Hills on Saturday against Richmond “we’d be talking a little differently about him.”
Plagued by missed throws and unable to find a groove early, Hills was forced to readjust and finished the game 12-of-21 for 138 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
“It’s a lot like shooting free throws,” Locksley said. “Most of the underthrown balls Perry had were guys that were wide open. You have a tendency to be very careful and aim the ball instead of just throwing it with confidence and it’s like anything else.
“If he hits the first one, then things are flowing.”
Flow did seem to be at least part of the issue. Hills started 0-of-4 with an interception and his three other incompletions were comprised of a pair of underthrows and an overthrow in the red zone.
“He missed the first one to Kenny [Goins] in the end zone,” Locksley said. “I think he started pressing a little bit and trying to aim the ball instead of throwing it.”
Finding that eventual groove was also aided by Maryland’s running game. The trio of Brandon Ross, Wes Brown, and Ty Johnson gained 341 yards on the ground -- the program’s highest single-game output in 13 years.
But against Bowling Green on Saturday, a team that surrendered 399 yards on the ground to Tennessee last week, the question will be if the defense begins to stack the box and force Hills to beat them.
If that happens, things shift for Hills.
“I’ve been playing this game since I was five years old,” Hills said on Wednesday. “So it’s just going to come down to reading and reacting, not overthinking things.
“Whenever they give you [a run-stopping defensive look] you obviously have to take advantage of it and then hit your passes -- just make the right read and hit open receivers.”
For the things he lacked against Richmond, Hills still did a number of good things, Locksley reiterated, and there's something to be said for that.
“His first meaningful start in three years for the kid, put 43 points on the board, 7-of-12 for third down situations for us and executed the two-minute [drill],” he said. “I’m proud of the way he played.”