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There are two reasons to watch Maryland football this season. Either you attended the university and you want to relive the drunken Saturdays spent at Byrd Stadium, or you want to see what Torrey Smith is going to do next. Heading into the season Smith was the undisputed bright spot on the roster and a legitimate NFL Draft prospect.
The plan was for him to continue the record setting pace at which he was returning kicks, and be the go-to feature receiver for a team making the transition to a new quarterback. When he suffered an ankle injury early in the season those plans kind of went out the window. He hasn't been returning kicks and that unit is suffering as a result.
He continues to play wide receiver on the injured ankle, but it is obvious that he isn't anywhere close to 100 percent. After plays he is limping more often than not, and he doesn't appear to have the same separation speed he had a year ago. It's impressive that he has been able to play through the pain but the team can't count on him in the same way they were intending to if he is dragging his leg around the field.
If the Terps are going to have a successful passing game (particularly with a first year QB) they need some of their other receivers to step up and fill some of the void. The first names that come to mind are Adrian Cannon and LaQuan Williams who are both seniors and have plenty of experience. But I would like to see Tony Logan, who has made a huge impact as a punt returner, see some extra time as a slot receiver. He might be the player most capable of replicating Smith's explosiveness. With Smith on the mend the team needs to put as many of its playmakers on the field as they possibly can.
You can't replace everything that Smith brings to the table, and his injury likely means lowering expectations for the team. But there are other players n the roster capable of making a difference. If they can take some of the load of Smith, that might help give his ankle some time to heal.
Today's must-reads from around the SB Nation network:
- Hogs Haven has a pretty good idea why the Redskins lost on Sunday - they were playing against Peyton Manning.
- Federal Baseball gets you ready for Bryce Harper's Arizona Fall League debut tonight.
- Testudo Times has an early preview of the Terps' game against Boston College this weekend.
On tap today on SB Nation D.C.: Ben Broman has the newest edition of the ACC Power Rankings, and Ken Meringolo is back with the latest Rank and File.