The Washington Times - November 19, 2008, 01:19PM

The Vandwagon’s Shady Mechanic, this week’s D1scourse Challenge winner, sent a mailbag question my way a few days ago.

It just took a little while to come up with a good answer.


Anyway, his curiosity centers really on one of the quietest depth chart changes of the year —- the elevation of Torrey Smith over Isaiah Williams at wide receiver in the last three games.

The past few games Torrey Smith has been starting opposite DHB as the wideout.  I THINK that happened at the Wake game, but can’t remember for sure.  Either way, he’s getting more PT than Isaiah Williams was before, so I was curious if you and the coaches thought that was doing anything to help DHB get more touches in the passing game.  I know Smith only had one catch Saturday, but at least in my mind he’s more of a big play threat than any receiver not named DHB (though Ronnie Tyler is catching up) is on the team.

So in summary, has moving Smith into a starting role had any impact on DHB’s looks in the offense, by making secondaries cover more ground than they may have had to before?

Smith is an extremely promising player, a guy who will be a factor for the Terps in the years to come —- and will be especially prominent if Darrius Heyward-Bey opts to leave for the NFL after this season.

There’s no one better to ask about Smith’s impact than Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, who sees the Fredericksburg, Va., native providing help in all areas of the offense.

“I think it’s had a tremendous effect, not only in the passing game where Torrey is making plays, but he also blocks pretty well and it helps us in the running game also,” Friedgen said. “He’s another kid who’s very mature, a redshirt freshman. … Just a hard-working kid. I think he’s going to be a very good player here.”

As for opening things up for Hey-Bey, I think both Smith and Ronnie Tyler are crucial components in doing that. If Heyward-Bey can produce another huge game or two —- and I think he has a couple signature performances in him over the final three or four games —- it’ll be the emergence of Smith and Tyler (as well as the omnipresent steadiness of Danny Oquendo) that will contribute mightily to it.

—- Patrick Stevens