Perry Hills had an up-and-down year in 2015.
However, through all the adversity, Hills has showed his toughness and that he has a very thick skin.
Prior to fall camp, coach D.J. Durkin made it known that there would be an open competition for every position, including quarterback. It didn’t matter what any player did before Durkin and his staff arrived in College Park.
Hills started the majority of the games for the Terrapins last season. In nine games, he completed 50 percent of his passes while tossing just eight touchdowns but also throwing 13 interceptions.
There was an open competition prior to the 2015 season and Hills won the starting job as an underdog. Caleb Rowe was expected by many to become the starter.
Hills was pulled in just the second game of the season in favor of Rowe. However, after Rowe struggled at times, Hills started once again against Ohio State and didn’t look back.
After going through a ton of adversity since last season, Hills has competed throughout the offseason.
“Well, the first thing you realize about him…is he’s mentally tough,” offensive coordinator Walt Bell said. “He can get to a very dark place and survive there a very long time. Mentally, he’s as strong a human being as I’ve ever seen, especially with how he operated from the day we got here til mid-March or whenever we started spring and then the same thing is how important this is to him.”
It was clear that Hills was both mentally and physically based on his playing style in 2015. Interceptions never seemed to get the best of him and he always fought for more yards when running the football.
“He does not like to lose,” Bell added. “He loves to compete. Anytime that you have those two things, regardless of the skillset, all the other things that people think are really important about the position, if you got those two things, you at least got a chance at a successful year.”
Hills is the type of player that gives maximum effort every time he takes the field. For example, he was the main reason that Maryland put Ohio State on upset alert last season in Columbus.
Maryland’s new coaching staff is catering the offense to Hills’ skillset, similar to a season ago. Bell is definitely looking forward
“My job for him is to make sure he’s in a position to be successful,” Bell said. “Really simply, the easiest way to make a quarterback successful is don’t ask him to do things that he can’t do.”
“If you want your quarterback to struggle, ask him to do a bunch of things he doesn’t do really well. The things that Perry does really well is that he’s tough, rugged and has a really nice deep ball, which is a nice surprise for me, especially when you look at some of last year’s tape.”
Hills will run an offense that is predicated by a variety of running plays out of the shotgun. That should fit right into Hills’ skillset as the Terps ran a large majority of their packages out of the shotgun a season ago.
The senior quarterback averaged 4.9 yards-per-carry and totaled 535 yards and three touchdowns in 2015. Hills topped the century mark on the ground against the likes of Iowa, Ohio State, and Penn State.
Despite some struggles in 2015, Hills is the right man to lead the Maryland offense. When the Terps take the field on Saturday against Howard, don’t be surprised if there’s a level of explosion from the Maryland offensive attack.