The Times West Virginian

Sports

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
Sports
  • NMHS #14 hit.jpg North Marion goes 2-for-2; Fairmont Senior 0-for-2 in tournament

    A day after an 11-0 mercy-rule victory at Philip Barbour, the North Marion Huskies were at it again.
    Chelsi Latocha threw three no-hit innings, Shelby King drove in five runs in the first inning and the Huskies rolled to a 20-0 victory over the winless Fairmont Senior Polar Bears in the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School.

    April 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • Brewers’ Lohse beats Pirates again

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 19, 2014

  • Bucs trade for Mets’ Ike Davis

    The New York Mets traded slumping first baseman Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night, parting ways with a power hitter who proved to be too inconsistent at the plate.
    Pittsburgh sent minor league right-hander Zack Thornton and a player to be named to New York for the 27-year-old Davis.

    April 19, 2014

  • Penguins wary of Blue Jackets after Game 1 escape

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 19, 2014

  • Tori Postlewait front.jpg East’s Postlewait, North’s Latocha toss no-hitters

    Tori Postlewait made a deal with her great-uncle, Kenny Carpenter, before her freshman season.
    If the Bees’ pitcher tossed a no-hitter, Carpenter promised to give her $20.
    Well, it took four years, but it’s finally time for Postlewait’s great-uncle to pay up.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • East tennis splits with Polar Bears

    Fairmont Senior and East Fairmont split a pair of tennis matches Thursday, with Fairmont Senior winning the boys’ match and East Fairmont taking the girls’ competition.
    In the Bees’ 6-1 girls’ victory, Cara Laswell took second singles, 8-2. Erica Gorman won third singles, 8-1. And Carrington Reese won fourth singles, 8-3.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • McCutchen, Alvarez lead Pirates over Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos