The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

April 14, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN: Smith leaves WVU without farewell speech

MORGANTOWN — You almost would like to believe that before he left, West Virginia University quarterback Geno Smith called aside Paul Millard and Ford Childress — either together or separately — and gave them some words of wisdom to take forth with them as they battle to pick up where he left off.

But it wasn’t that way.

Smith had matters of his own to attend to, like working on his own quarterback skills before the draft, preparing for the Combine and then Pro Day at WVU, individual tryouts across the face of the NFL and a day with Jon Gruden to boost the former coach’s ratings maybe more than he could boost his own draft stock.

“He kind of just left us with the way he approached the game and the way he did everything,” Childress, the redshirt freshman, said in his first meeting with the media this spring. “Studying film, he showed me a lot, what to look for, what not to look for. The way he approached every game I thought was really good.”

“He didn’t really leave me with any parting words,” Millard said. “We got along the whole time. I saw him Pro Day. He worked out with us that week. Then I saw him on with Gruden. He did a good job.”

In a way, by not offering any kind of farewell speech, Smith was doing the two players a favor. He was telling them it was now their team and that their best path to success was to follow their own heart, just as he had done.

What’s more, he was turning them over to Dana Holgorsen, the head coach and offensive architect of the team, and offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Shannon Dawson, offering nothing that would contradict what they may preach.

There would be no saying, “Well, Geno said,” when the coaches were trying to get a point across.

The coaches’ words would be the sole gospel.

And right now, that is important because the offense is different by necessity without Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, players who do not come along with any great regularity.

“We don’t think about the guys we lost, and I’m excited it’s a new team,” Millard said. “These are guys I came in with. We lost a lot of talent, but that’s what college football is about. It’s about replacing guys. That’s what we’re trying to do right now. We’re excited about that.”

The competition between the two players is intense.

“It’s pretty even,” Childress said. “One of us has a better day than the other; then the next practice the other one has the better day. It goes back and forth.”

What’s more, there will be no decision any time soon.

“It’s a little odd. I’d obviously like it announced tomorrow that I’m the starter, but we’re going to have to compete all the way through and get better,” Childress said. “It’s better with us competing and pushing each other. It brings better play out of each other.”

It won’t change next Saturday with the spring game, either.

“We will mix them,” Holgorsen said. “What we have been doing in the previous 11 practices is Paul (Millard) will go with the first team then (Ford

Childress) will go with the first team. Not only do they switch, but the receivers rotate. The linemen will also go back and forth. We keep the quarterback with a specific center, and that changes every other practice.

“We will keep doing the same thing during camp. There will be a lot of moving parts during the spring game, and I hope we win. Spring games are tough. You want it to look good for the fans that come. It is going to be a festive day, and we want it to resemble football.”

The competition puts the players in a difficult situation, for each is trying to beat the other out of the thing he most wants in the world. They are teammates and competitors at the same time, a situation that often comes up in team sports and that is not always handled well.

To date, it has caused no problems between Millard and Childress.

“We keep it PG,” Childress said. “We just compete on the field. Off the field, nothing is going on. It keeps the atmosphere in the quarterback room good. We don’t ever fight.”

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Millard said. “Football is about competing. You get out there on a Saturday and compete. This is just competing on a different level, and I love it.”

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

  • Moore ‘back at home’ under center

    There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.
    The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.

    April 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads