Terps will stick with Hills in Pur­due game, Durkin says

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Don Markus

COL­LEGE PARK — Mary­land line­backer Ro­man Braglio could see the pain quar­ter­back Perry Hills was try­ing to hide as he walked to the side­line af­ter in­jur­ing his right shoul­der dur­ing the sec­ond over­time of what would be a 30-24 win at Cen­tral Florida.

Be­fore they watched true fresh­man quar­ter­back Tyrrell Pi­grome race 24 yards for the win­ning touch­down, Braglio, a se­nior, at­tempted to lift the spir­its of his long­time team­mate by re­mind­ing Hills of a sim­i­lar in­jury Braglio had suf­fered as a sopho­more and how he didn’t miss any time be­cause of it.

“That’s why I kept rub­bing it in Perry’s face af­ter he came off the field, ‘You know I did this, it’s the same thing,’ ” Braglio re­called Tues­day. “He just kind of laughed at me and told me to shut up. … Things Perry Hills

hap­pen. Perry’s a tough kid. Got in, got his treat­ment, he’s good now.”

Helped by the fact that Mary­land (3-0) had a week off af­ter the Sept. 17 game in Or­lando, the in­jury Hills suf­fered af­ter be­ing slammed to the ground has ap­par­ently healed enough for the fifth-year se­nior to start Satur­day’s Big Ten opener against Pur­due (2-1).

First-year Mary­land coach DJ Durkin, who has of­ten talked about the tough­ness and re­silience Hills has demon­strated through­out his some­times dif­fi­cult ca­reer, listed Hills as the starter Mon­day and said Tues­day, “Perry’s do­ing good. He’ll be ready to go. We plan on that.”

Pur­due coach Dar­rell Hazell told re­porters dur­ing his weekly news con­fer­ence Tues­day that his team is not sim­ply go­ing to watch tape of Hills, who is com­ing off a rough game that in­cluded be­ing sacked five times and com­plet­ing just 10 of 23 passes for 127 yards. Pi­grome is on the Boil­er­mak­ers’ scout­ing re­port, too.

“You know, we’ll see who they roll out there on Satur­day. You’ve got to be pre­pared for both of those guys,” Hazell said. “They’re both very dif­fer­ent in their style of play. One’s a guy that can do a lit­tle bit of both. One guy [Pi­grome] is a dy­namic run­ner that we saw in the over­time vic­tory over [Cen­tral Florida]. But I think the main thing we have to do is stop the run first and put them in some pres­sure sit­u­a­tions with the pass­ing game.”

While he wants to get as many play­mak­ers onto the field for the Terps as he can, Durkin ac­knowl­edged that the quar­ter­back po­si­tion is dif­fer­ent from wide re­ceiver or run­ning back.

“It is a dif­fer­ent spot in terms of that, the rhythm of how things go. There’s so much com­mu­ni­ca­tion that goes through the quar­ter­back’s po­si­tion in our of­fense. Ob­vi­ously, he’s dis­tribut­ing the ball and the ball’s in his hands every down,” Durkin said. “To ro­tate there, it’s dif­fer­ent than other spots.”

As of now, Durkin said he doesn’t have any plans to use Pi­grome against Pur­due.

“It’s good to know we have that op­tion avail­able to us,” Durkin said. “It’s good to know he knows he needs to keep im­prov­ing and get­ting bet­ter. That po­si­tion, it’s how you play a full game, not just one snap. That was all he had in that game and he did well with it. We’re go­ing to con­tinue to keep bring­ing him along and get him ready to go.”

Against Cen­tral Florida, Durkin saw pos­i­tive signs from Hills and the rest of his team through­out the sec­ond half, par­tic­u­larly in the two over­time pe­ri­ods.

“Our guys had a nice calm over them, like, ‘ Let’s go win this.’ That was the big­gest thing to me,” Durkin said. “Perry, that guy’s been through ad­ver­sity. He’s been through it, and to see him re­spond with that type of con­fi­dence, that’s a guy that’s been there be­fore. That’s how you want your whole team to re­spond. I said af­ter the game, that’s some­thing we can build on.”

That Hills set the tone in the first over­time — par­tic­u­larly with a 14-yard run on sec­ond down to set up his 5-yard touch­down — did not sur­prise an­other of his long­time team­mates.

“Perry al­ways sets the tone,” se­nior of­fen­sive tackle Michael Dunn said. “With a quar­ter­back as tough as he is, just runs through a guy, as an of­fen­sive line­man you love it. You see that, it makes you want to go out and block harder for that guy. What Perry did in the first over­time was in­cred­i­ble to watch.”

NOTES: Durkin an­nounced that se­nior safety Den­zel Conyers suf­fered a torn ACL against Cen­tral Florida and will have surgery this week. Conyers, who came back to start the first three games af­ter be­ing taken to Shock Trauma with a con­cus­sion in Au­gust, is ex­pected to miss the rest of the sea­son. Ju­nior Josh Woods, who, like Braglio, played at McDonogh, will make his first ca­reer start Satur­day. Big Ten opener Satur­day, 3:30 p.m. TV: Big Ten Network Ra­dio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM Line: Mary­land by 10

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