Torrey Smith is coming off a record-breaking 2009 campaign in which he set the record for most Atlantic Coast Conference kickoff return yardage and the Maryland single-season for all-purpose yardage. Hes returning kickoffs for an average of 18.6 yards this season, seven yards less than last year, due to an ankle injury sustained against Florida International.
Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen admitted leaning towards making a switch in returners, suggesting defensive backs Avery Graham, Trenton Hughes, Dexter McDougle, as well as running back DaRel Scott and punt returner extraordinaire Tony Logan as possible replacements.
Friedgen acknowledged, however, that using a defensive player presented more of a risk in terms of ball security.
As hard we work on ball control or ball security, we dont work on it as hard with our defensive players, who focus on quite the contrary instead.
Logan has been the Terps primary punt returner in 2010, averaging the second most yards per return in the nation (24.6), including two 80-plus-yard touchdowns that proved to be game-changing plays in both of the teams wins.
As a redshirt freshman, Scott set a then-Maryland freshman record for kickoff return yardage with 566, but has faded from that role since becoming the teams featured running back.
Regardless, the kickoff return unit desperately needs a boost, as it sports the 11th best ranking in the Atlantic Coast Conference, a mere 15 yards from the worst, Florida State.
Friedgen said hell decide at game time whether to use Smith or opt to go in another direction. A lot depends on Smiths health, which has improved during the week after limiting his reps Monday and Tuesday.
Torrey looked pretty good today. He looked about full speed, Friedgen said. That was the best hes looked in a long while.
A 33-yard missed field goal by acting-placekicker Travis Baltz was just the second miss on the season. Although solid in his efforts, Friedgen reiterated his desire for last years Freshman All-American to return to the lineup.
Id like for [Nick] Ferrara to win that job, Friedgen said. He just hasnt come out and done it yet, adding that having his kicks blocked continues to plague the kicker.
Baltz continues to have a grasp on the starting role, calling the competition not even really close right now. Friedgen has yet to rule out Ferraras return. He prefers a healthy, productive combination, which he believes would benefit both in their specific responsibilities.
When Ferrara is doing what he is capable, Baltz can focus on punting, Friedgen said, which can further improve an already impressive season the punter has put together.
News and Notes
* The Eagles hold a 5-2 all-time advantage in the series, and have won four of five games since entering the ACC.
* The Terrapins have just one in the state of Massachusetts, and are winless in Alumni Stadium.