We all love Torrey Smith, me probably more than you. He's an all-around monster, both on kickoffs and as a wide receiver, and he's just a matter of yards away from owning all types of records.
Unfortunately, he's also hurting. He'll play through the pain, which is almost a necessity for an offense-starved Maryland team, but it's time to ask the question: does Torrey really need to be out there on kick returns?
The first time he pulled up lame was against Morgan State, when he was returning a kickoff in the 3rd quarter. He's come up limping multiple times, or so it seems, since, and that's a bad sign for Maryland's best overall player.
With a bunch of nagging injuries like that, you'd figure that questions about remaining the team's primary kick returner, a secondary function to being the team's only real offensive threat, would've risen by now. Even if it's only until he regains his full health, it makes some sense to take him off those duties for now.
It makes even more sense when you consider that Tony Logan might be even better at Smith's job than Smith. Even though Torrey's put up ridiculous numbers, he's been helped out by Maryland's lackluster defense in terms of number of returns, and his average was never up in the top 20 or so in the nation. Logan, on the other hand, has been busting punt returns left and right, and is third in the country in punt return average.
The beginning of the season hasn't been kind to Torrey; he's been struggling in kick returns so far. Through four games, his long is just 31 and he's averaging only 18.25 yards per return; 20, for reference, is considered okay.
I'm not suggesting that Smith isn't a good kick returner; he's more than proven that over the years. Nor am I suggesting that punt returning and kick returning are the same thing, because the dynamics are slightly different, as are the goals. But Logan has proven himself as electric as anyone else on the team, and he's not lacking for field vision, either. Those traits would transfer pretty well.
The idea popped into my mind when Logan returned a kick late against FIU, when Smith was hurting. It was only a temporary switch, but it makes sense on a larger scale, even if only, again, temporarily.
As long as Smith is banged up, putting him out there to return kicks with an option as attractive as Logan seems...reckless. When your team's best player is questionable, it's time to start thinking about keeping him off the field if he doesn't need to be there. If the difference between Logan and Smith proves minimal - I certainly don't know if it is, but it seems possible - it's something that may work on a longer term.