One of the few bright spots that emerged during Maryland's disappointing two-win 2009 season was the performance of wide receiver Torrey Smith, leaving Terps fans with something to look forward to this fall.
Last season, the Second Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference junior racked up 1,309 return yards, shattering his own ACC single-season record of 1,089 yards set the year before. Smith's 2,192 all-purpose yards in 2009 eclipsed the previous ACC single-season record, set by Virginia's Thomas Jones in 1999, by more than 100 yards.
Smith now stands at second all-time for ACC single-season all-purpose yards to Clemson's C.J. Spiller, who accumulated 2,680 all-purpose yards last year. But, the same season, Smith led his team with five touchdowns, 824 receiving yards and 61 receptions.
The Colonial Beach, Va. native isn't buying into any preseason hype, though, and isn't taking his current No. 1 receiver spot on Maryland's depth chart for granted.
"I can't just relax. Last year is done," Smith said. "We've got a bunch of talented receivers, [and] everyone wants to play. I just have to go out there and fight for [my spot]."
Fans might expect, after a prolific 2009 season, Smith would be thinking about which NFL team he'd most like to play for. But, he said he's not thinking about the draft, adding, "That's something you have to handle when it comes."
Smith also remained humble when talking about the ACC defensive backs he will play against throughout next season. Instead of analyzing matchups in which Maryland receivers would thrive, he acknowledged the tall challenges that conference cornerbacks and safeties will pose this year and the immense amount of effort it will take to offset this.
Smith's knowledge of Maryland's offense, which the criminal justice major said has improved during the offseason, could help him secure a coveted spot on the first team.
For the team as a whole, the name of the game this year is finishing off opponents. In a Tuesday press conference, Head Coach Ralph Friedgen said he thought his team had good chances to win against North Carolina State and Florida State.
N.C. State beat Maryland 38-31 after they turned over the ball on downs in opponent territory late in the fourth quarter. Florida State beat Maryland 29-26 after FSU running back Lonnie Pryor ran for a 3-yard touchdown with 2 minutes 31 seconds left in the game; time expired on Maryland's next drive.
According to Smith, Maryland must capitalize on opportunities to reverse the dismal tide of last season.
"[We have to] work on the things we can control, which is finishing," Smith said. Last year, "we were in a lot of positions a lot of times to win. We just have to make the plays when they present themselves. We didn't do that a lot last year."
Among other aspects, closing out games will depend on the team's unity and level of confidence, and Smith thinks spring practice will help the holdovers from last season to build chemistry with new players.
"Any practice you get helps before the season comes," he said.
After a reporter asked Smith to give a prediction for this season's outcome, including the possibilities of a bowl berth or an ACC Championship, Smith simply replied, "My prediction is for us to start 1-0."
Maryland will play Navy on Sept. 6, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Better Know A Terp - Torrey Smith
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