In the process, Hills has grown more comfortable with Maryland’s new pro-style system, developing a give-and-take with offensive coordinator Mike Locksley in which they consult each other for potential play calls.
“Last week, me and Kevin [Dorsey] were watching film, talking over, seeing what the defenses were doing, saying this could be wide open,” Hills said. “[Locksley] asked me, what am I comfortable with, the day before the game. That’s a good thing, to know what I’m most comfortable with so if something happens, we can go back to it to get rolling again.”
As the true freshman improved from his three-interception debut against William & Mary to a zero-interception outing against Temple which included his first two collegiate touchdown passes and an 11-yard scoring run, Locksley has taken notice.
“It’s good to see he made the strides that you like to see all of our guys making from week one to week two,” Locksley said. “I thought Perry improved, and that’s the goal for us. He’s still a guy that got off the yellow school bus last year, and our goal is for each week to give him a plan that he can go out and be comfortable with. It’s not what we want to do, it’s what he can get accomplished and what he’s comfortable with. I think he took some steps, but we have to consistently do it.”
The deep pass, nearly absent altogether against the Tribe, became a viable option against Temple. Hills hooked up with Matt Furstenburg for a 22-yard touchdown pass and found Marcus Leak from 32 yards on a fly pattern down the left sideline. Late in the fourth, Hills set up the game-clinching touchdown with a 38-yard completion on third down to Stefon Diggs.
For Locksley, it was just a matter of Hills’s full skill set finally emerging.
“I thought all camp long he did some nice things, and that’s how he earned the right to be the guy when we had the injuries,” Locksley said. “So when you recruit a guy you recruit him to have the skill-set to do what you want to do on offense. I’m very pleased with his skill set and how it fits in to what we do.”