By Mickey Furfari
For the Times West Virginian
I was shocked earlier in the week reading a so-called scouting report on Geno Smith, West Virginia University’s record-setting quarterback of the past four years.
It was written by a guy named Nolan Nawrocki and published in Pro Football Weekly. His characterization of Geno Smith makes it seem like a professional football organization would be taking a risk if it took this talented young man in the upcoming National Football League draft.
What Nawrocki wrote, in my opinion, suggests he does not know anything about Geno Smith’s football ability and most certainly not about his character.
I have had the opportunity and privilege to see and write about every Mountaineer quarterback from Fred Wyant (1952-55) through this 6-foot-3, 220-pound native of Miami, Fla. (2009-12)
And Geno Smith is special in every respect, and he ranks among the school’s greatest in both talent and character.
What that writer’s opinion has done is to unfairly upset all of those who were his teammates over the past four years, those who coached him and undoubtedly Smith himself.
Could it also affect where he will be chosen in this months NFL draft? Obviously, I don’t know. If so, I think that would be very unfortunate and in my view very unfair.
“Not a student of the game,” the assessing Nawrocki wrote. “Nonchalant field presence — does not command respect from teammates and cannot inspire. Mild practice demeanor — no urgency — not committed or focused — marginal work ethic.”
That assessment goes against everything — absolutely just the opposite of what I’ve heard from his coaches and teammates since he has been here.
Dana Holgorsen, WVU’s third-year head coach, said he doesn’t comment on comments such as those made by Nawrocki.
“You (media) guys all know what I think of Geno Smith,” he said. “He’ll be a great pro, and he will play for a long time.”
The pro football writer’s assault on Smith’s talent and character could not have come at a worse time or with a justification whatsoever in my opinion.
Nolan Nawrocki saved his harshest blast of criticism of Smith for last:
“Smith is a gimmick, over-hyped product of the system lacking the football savvy, work habits and focus to cement a starting job and could drain energy from a QB room.
“Will be overdrafted and struggle to produce against NFL defensive complexities.”
I am absolutely appalled, baffled, and unbelieving how anyone could write what he did about Geno Smith.
It all sounds like a vicious nightmare — most certainly not a dream based on my day-to-day knowledge of this all-time greatest quarterback in West Virginia football history.