The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

July 27, 2012

Smith brushes off Big 12 honor

Senior QB  putting focus on season

MORGANTOWN — Much of the talk at the Big 12 media day was centered upon West Virginia University quarterback Geno Smith, who came out of nowhere to be named the league’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

Is that a good thing?

Is that a bad thing?

“It’s a compliment to Geno,” his coach, Dana Holgorsen, admitted. “I think a lot is based on what happened the last game of the year, which in all my years for 12 straight bowl games, all my years of December practice time, I think we got better in the month of December last year more than we ever have.”

Think about that for a moment. Holgorsen felt that WVU, given bowl preparation time and an objective, finally reached its potential and did so by taking bigger strides in preparation than any previous Holgorsen team (read that offense) did.

“It’s a commitment to when we found out we were going to the Orange Bowl, it was a commitment on our coaches’ and our players’ standpoint to the point where they worked hard. They got better over 15 days, went into the game with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder.”

No one, however, stretched toward their potential any more than Smith.

“He progressed, and he’s got a chance to be pretty good. He stacks up with a lot of the other guys I’ve had in the past. Ultimately, it’s how many games you win. Him going into his senior year, he’s going to be remembered for how many games he wins.” Holgorsen said.

“If you look back at some of the guys in the past, Graham Harrell back four years ago at Texas Tech was a good player but they won 11 games his senior year. Case Keenum, and I was fortunate enough to coach him, won 12 or 13 games in his last year. Brandon Weeden last year at Oklahoma State. I think they won 15 games last year, or whatever it was.”

Smith understands this team-first concept and plays into it.

“Honestly, I’m honored to be selected. I didn’t take it any sort of way. I’m a guy who understands what this game is all about, and basically it comes down to what you do between the lines,” he said.

“I’m not going to go into the season thinking ‘I was the Big 12 preseason pick as Offensive Player of the Year’ because it means nothing. It comes down to what you can control, and the only thing I can control is on the field.”

And starting next week he begins final preparations for that.

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