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Perry Hills can look to Deacs for inspiration

8/23/2012

Here’s an encouraging name for Maryland fans: Tanner Price.

Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe is not known for starting true freshmen, but two years ago, a hand injury to starting quarterback Ted Stachitas helped make the decision for him.

Price, then a true freshman, earned his first career start -- on the road against a ranked Stanford team that was No. 10 in the nation in scoring defense.

Perry Hills? He’s got Bill 'n' Mary.

Granted, there were some growing pains for Price (and some Sunday morning pains, too) -- and there will be with Hills, too. But Price has grown into a leader, a record-setter, and a quarterback capable of helping his team to the ACC championship game. Price enters this season having thrown his last 173 passes without an interception. He completed 60 percent of his passes last year for 3,017 yards and 20 touchdowns against just six interceptions.

Price should be an inspiration to Hills, who has suddenly been catapulted into the role of Maryland’s offensive leader. In his first season as a starter, Price set school records in completion percentage (58.6), passing yards (1,349), pass attempts (241), pass completions (137) and touchdown passes (7) by a freshman quarterback.

Many outside the program have already written the Terps off this season, and it’s true -- their quarterback situation is dire, and things have somehow gotten worse before they could get better. Hills, though, deserves a chance to show what he can do and manage the offense without trying to be a superhero.

“I’ve been very, very impressed with just how he’s handled himself,” coach Randy Edsall said. “The poise and composure and command that he’s handling that first offense with, I mean here’s a guy that’s a freshman that’s telling those guys ‘Come on let’s go, get set, get down,’ and all those things. He’s been good at handling all the installation that’s gone in.

“Like I said, I’ve been very impressed with a kid that’s a true freshman to pick up all the things he’s picked up and then to go out and handle the huddle,” Edsall said. “He really hasn’t turned over the ball much, he’s accurate, I have not seen him get rattled. I think he’s one of those guys that just goes and prepares very well. He’s always sitting in that film room studying and trying to do exactly what [offensive coordinator] Mike [Locksley] wants him to do. So when you do that you give yourself the opportunity to be successful.”

Just ask Tanner Price.