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Best of 2008 #6: Josh Smith's All Purpose Performance

I have to admit, Josh Smith was one of the more polarizing Buffs players I can ever remember. If you are a reader of the site, I am a pretty big Josh Smith fan because he single handily gave the Buffs a chance at winning games and in some cases, was the spark the Buffs needed to be victorious. On the flip side of the story, many remember Josh Smith's "almost safety" against Texas, some drops, and the poor decision at FSU that led to a safety and a field goal. That was Josh Smith; all risk or all reward. Nothing in the middle. But no matter what side of the fence you are on, Josh Smith was one of the only play makers that the Buffs had this year and at times, was a pure joy to watch. Smith found his way into the Colorado record books for All Purpose Yards in a season without being a featured part of the Buffs offense. This was the clip from the Boulder Daily Camera after the Nebraska game:

Josh Smith produced the best outing of his young career in terms of all-purpose yardage. He finished the day with 245 all-purpose yards, pushing him to No. 2 on CU's single-season list.

Only former tailback Rashaan Salaam has produced more total yardage in one season than Smith. That came during his run to the 2004 Heisman Trophy, when he racked up 2,349 yards.

Smith finished the 2008 campaign with 1,987 yards, the vast majority of which came from kickoff returns. He also caught 32 passes for 387 yards. Smith passed former running back Eric Bieniemy and Byron "Whizzer" White on Friday.

Whenever you are second on a list of where it involves Bieniemy, Whizzer and Salaam, you have had a good year and Josh Smith, for all of his follies and risk taking, had a great year. The more amazing part was the fact that Josh Smith had two bum shoulders and was receiving shots to be able to play. Smith was honored by the AP writers with Honorable Mention for finishing ninth in the nation and third in the Big 12 for all purpose yards only behind Jeremy Maclin and DeMarco Murray. Here is a breakdown of his performances this year:

Opponent Rush Rec. Punt Ret. Kick Ret. Plays Yds/P Yards/G
Colorado St. 8.0 15.0 6.0 160.0 7.0 27.0 189.0
Eastern Wash. 7.0 29.0 108.0 40.0 12.0 15.3 184.0
West Virginia (6.0) 75.0 15.0 69.0 13.0 11.8 153.0
+ Florida St.
85.0 15.0 54.0 13.0 11.8 154.0
3 Texas
17.0 9.0 112.0 7.0 19.7 138.0
@ Kansas
38.0 38.0 122.0 8.0 24.8 198.0
Kansas St. 9.0 22.0 9.0 66.0 8.0 13.3 106.0
@ 25 Missouri
154.0 11.0 17.3 190.0
@ Texas A&M (3.0) 8.0 55.0 40.0 10.0 10.0 100.0
Iowa St. (4.0) 8.0 35.0 104.0 9.0 15.9 143.0
13 Oklahoma St. 21.0 2.0 2.0 162.0 12.0 15.6 187.0
@ Nebraska
193.0 9.0 27.2 245.0
Totals 32.0 387.0 292.0 1,276.0 119.0 16.7 165.6

Next year, we are hoping Josh Smith can help the offense more. Smith wants the ball more and Coach Kiesau wants to give it to him. This offseason will be crucial to Smith maturing to be able to handle the offense. But for 2008, Josh Smith was electrifying. There is no other way to describe him looking at 16.7 yards/touch. My favorite Josh Smith moments had to be in the Colorado State and Eastern Washington game. Congrats to JFly for a record setting season.

Best of 2008 List
10) The Victory Against CSU at Mile High
9) The Iowa State Second Half
8) Buff Linebacker Shaun Mohler
7) The 3 - 0 Start
6) Josh Smith's All Purpose Performance

Worst of 2008 List
10) The Off the Field Issues
9) The Defensive Line Scheme/Play
8) Home Crowd Blues
7) Losing to Texas A&M