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Hollenbach thinks he can improve

October 07, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Sam Hollenbach has become a thinking man's quarterback.

By his estimation, that might be the thing that is holding him back from being a successful one.

In the time it takes for the University of Maryland senior quarterback to react to an opportunity knocking, it leaves. And with it goes some prime chances to score for the Terrapins.

"I have to make quicker decisions," Hollenbach said. "The route will come open while I'm still making my drop and then it won't be open. I have to realize that and make quicker decisions. You never can work too hard at this position."

Hollenbach has been a work in progress at Maryland. Last season, he was one of the Atlantic Coast Conference's more prolific passers, but the Terps didn't have anything to show for it because of mistakes and turnovers, many on interceptions and fumbled snaps.

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This season has become even more of a challenge. Hollenbach has improved on his play with experience, but the combination of an inexperienced receiving corps and some frustration has hampered improvement.

That has Hollenbach thinking.

"Thinking too much is a problem," he admits. "I just have to try and be quicker."

Maryland (3-1) has been semi-grounded this season. The Terps have shown they have an adequate running game, but the passing attack has yet to come on to complement it. Hollenbach and the receivers seem to have problems getting on the same page. Against West Virginia, Hollenbach had many overthrown passes, and against Florida International the next week, a number of his passes were underthrown.

"That's something I've got to take the blame for. I need to be able to get the ball to them at the right time," Hollenbach said. "We need to communicate better, especially after the first couple of series when we can talk on the sidelines. That will come in time and with game experience."

Despite the 3-1 record, the quarterback has held the Terps back.

"When a play has to be made, we have to make it," Hollenbach said. "If a guy is open and I can't hit him, it takes all the motivation out of the offense. We just have to make the plays that are there. It sounds repetitive, but we have to play all 60 minutes. You have to make all the plays early because you don't know what is going to happen later in the game."

Making plays and reacting instead of thinking will be imperative for Hollenbach today when the Terps play their ACC opener at No. 18 Georgia Tech. Maryland will be trying to prove it belongs in the ACC championship race against a Georgia Tech team that lost to Notre Dame 14-10 in its opener before running off four straight wins, including league victories over Virginia and then-No. 11 Virginia Tech.

"The big thing this week will be my snap reads. I have to know where the ball is supposed to be going once I get the ball," Hollenbach said. "Any time a defense is aggressive, it is up to the offense to find the weakness and get the ball to the right place. They do a great job confusing the offense. Their front seven is tough, but it's up to us to find a weakness.

"We have to play better than we did in September," he said. "That's a fact."

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