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QB Smith improves snap judgment for WVU

| Monday, Oct. 3, 2011

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It would have been hard for West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith to top his school-record 463 passing yards last week against LSU, but his biggest improvement this week wasn't a statistic.

Smith, a junior, completed 18 of 30 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers, but his decision-making was the most impressive in Saturday's win.

"He gets better at when to do specific things if he takes more snaps in the offense," coach Dana Holgorsen said.

West Virginia calls a lot of plays that are run-pass options. Depending on the defensive alignment and coverage, Smith has the option to throw a pass or hand it to the running back.

Smith continues to improve with his choices.

"I'm getting on the same page with Coach Holgorsen," Smith said. "It's only been five games, so I'm not there yet. But I'm going to continue to work hard and try and figure out exactly what he wants me to do."

It's also easier when Garrison is running well. The running game is a quarterback's best friend, and when he's averaging 9.1 yards per carry, he needs to get the ball in his hands.

"When the offense gets rolling and we're running the ball and he's doing things he's capable of, we want to get him the ball," Smith said.

Hold the line

After being called out through the first few weeks of the season, West Virginia's offensive line continues to show improvement.

The line was outstanding in pass protection last week. It allowed one sack to LSU, which is one of the best defensive lines in the country. This week, the front five cleared the way for West Virginia's running game, which rolled up 363 rushing yards.

The Mountaineers' offensive line is showing the ability to block well on running and passing plays.

"We always have confidence about it," center Joe Madsen said. "We went against one of the best defensive lines (LSU), but we didn't underestimate (Bowling Green)."

Man in the middle

Redshirt freshman Jewone Snow made his first career start in Saturday's game at middle linebacker and recorded a team-high nine tackles.

Putting Snow in the middle pushed senior Najee Goode to strong-side linebacker, where he played last year. Goode said he missed being in the middle, but he thought Snow played well.

"I like the way he ran downhill," Goode said, "and he was making some plays where I thought the ball might have got out. When I was looking for the ball inside, he was stepping up and making tackles."

Up next for West Virginia (4-1)

Next opponent: Connecticut (2-3)

Time and place: Noon Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium

Scouting report: With an effective running game under its belt, the West Virginia offense, ranked No. 14 in the country (496.0 ypg) enters Big East play against Connecticut, which boasts 30th-ranked defense in the nation (315.6 ypg).

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