2005 Keys to the Game: Maryland

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With the first half of the season securely in the books, the Hokies kick off
the back end of their schedule this Thursday in College Park against the
Maryland Terrapins. Looking to avenge last year�s embarrassing blowout in
Blacksburg, the Terps are ready to pull out all the stops in an effort to upset
the Hokies.

Maryland is a much better team than they were a year ago, so this will be
another significant challenge for the defending ACC champions. Let�s pop the
top and take a closer look at this one�

Tech Defense vs. Maryland Offense

offense is improved over last year, primarily due to better play at the QB
position. Sam Hollenbach is the man at the helm and his consistent, if
unspectacular play has given the Maryland offense the boost it needed after
struggling for most of the 2004 season. A former third string player that
seriously considered transferring a year ago, Hollenbach took advantage of the
opportunity when it was presented, leaping ahead of incumbents Joel Statham and
Jordan Steffy to grab the starting spot in 2005.

With solid play at QB, Ralph Friedgen can dip into his vast arsenal of
offensive creativity to pressure a defense in a lot of ways. Building on the
momentum of a three game winning streak and playing at home with increasing
confidence in his QB, expect Friedgen�s game plan to be far more aggressive
and diverse than what we saw a year ago in Blacksburg.

Key #1: Regain Control of the Line of Scrimmage

While statistically among the nation�s best in most categories, the Tech
defense has shown a few cracks in the armor the last couple of games. WVU and
Marshall both had some success in the run game, at least enough to give the
coaches a bit of discomfort. The Hokies have not played a lot of 8-man fronts
this season and offenses are finding a little more room to work inside against
the more standard 4-3 sets.

Against Maryland, the Tech defense needs to establish control of the line of
scrimmage early against a relatively inexperienced offensive line. The Terps
will attack inside and out,