ShareThis Page

WVU QB readies for his breakout season

| Thursday, June 30, 2011

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia starting quarterback Geno Smith is two months away from starting what is expected to be a record-setting season in 2011.

Smith, a junior, has been touted by preseason prognosticators as one of the best at his position. He's even been named as a darkhorse Heisman Trophy candidate.

Smith said he hasn't thought about any of that this summer. Instead, he's focusing on improving the Mountaineers' new offense under coach Dana Holgorsen.

"We've got about six weeks left," Smith said of summer workouts. "Up to this point, I feel like I've been working hard and doing a pretty good job. There are some things that I can improve on, and that comes with the territory."

Smith heads into this upcoming season with high expectations for a pass-heavy offensive attack that has been known to put up massive numbers.

Since 2005, when he became Texas Tech's offensive coordinator, Holgorsen has never coached an offense with a quarterback who finished the season with less than 4,000 yards.

West Virginia has never had a quarterback do that.

"I'm just trying to get better at everything. I know that sounds cliche, but I take every day for what it's worth," Smith said. "I try to lock in and focus in on every rep, every sprint, anything we do."

Smith had to learn the offense this spring despite having foot surgery in January. It was something he admits wasn't hard because the system isn't as complex as the old offense under former coach Bill Stewart.

Despite throwing for 388 yards and four touchdowns in the Gold-Blue spring game in April and for the second-most yards in a season at West Virginia as a sophomore in 2010, Smith said he can always find something in his game that needs improving.

He and his receivers have focused on improving their timing during 7-on-7 drills and in workouts this summer.

"(Smith) has us out there working on trying to be the best offense we can be," said redshirt junior receiver J.D. Woods. "He's a leader. He's always competitive, and he's always going to compete, no matter if it's a drill in practice or it's out there on the field against a defense."

Smith spoke to the media for the first time since spring practices finished — and the first time since Stewart abruptly resigned and Holgorsen was promoted to head coach.

"Coach Holgorsen is a straight-forward guy, and he doesn't let anything bother him. That's the demeanor that we take from him, and that's what we're going to do as a team," Smith said. "Not once has he talked about the whole issue. He's just told us that he's taking over a year early. We respect that, and we understand that he's here to help us win, and we're here to win for him."

As for that Heisman talk, Smith might not be focusing on it, but one of his receivers thinks it's legit.

"I'd put my quarterback up for the Heisman," Woods said. "I believe he can do it, and I'm going to do my best to help him get that."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.