West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen looks at Hills and, of course, sees potential. But he knows reaching potential can take some time.
"He's just young,'' Holgorsen said. "He's going to continue to get better. He's a good-looking kid that is trying to figure things out.
"What they're going through is the same thing we'd be going through if we had to start Ford Childress.''
Compounding matters is that Hills isn't the only freshman playing for Maryland. Only eight teams in the country have played more true freshmen than Maryland's 12.
"When you play that many young kids there are going to be times where it doesn't look very good, times where it's frustrating and they're not moving the ball as well as they'd like to,'' Holgorsen said. "With experienced guys, that gets easier. It's like us offensively this year, where it's a little easier to call plays and move the ball because we have experienced guys. It's always challenging to have a lot of freshmen that you're counting on, but with that you coach them up and the more you play, the better you get.''
That's what Hills' coaches are stressing, too.
"You have to have a short memory,'' Maryland coach Randy Edsall said of both Hills and all his freshmen after last weekend's loss to his old Connecticut team. "I know that Perry has put that behind him. I know that some of the mistakes you saw from last week you won't see this week. You might see some new ones. You hope you don't, but I'm confident in him. He's extremely conscientious and he's going to get better. He's got to feel comfortable when he goes out there and plays.''
In three games, Hills is now 37-for-69 passing for 444 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. He's also Maryland's third-leading rusher with 110 yards gained, although 66 yards in losses on 10 sacks have cut into that total.
And West Virginia will try to hit Hills some more on Saturday.
"He's been hit a lot,'' Holgorsen said. "That's going to be something that's important for us. Defensively we're going to want to be aggressive. We're going to want to attack them in a variety of ways. And with any young kid, you're going to want to give them different looks and try to confuse them.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1