Big 12 opponents size up Smith
Published: Thursday, July 26, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 26, 2012 10:07
DALLAS – After becoming the first quarterback in school history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season and being named the Most Valuable Player in the 2012 Discover Orange Bowl, Smith grabbed attention across the Big 12 Conference from Manhattan, Kan. to Norman, Okla.
And that attention was easy to see as Smith, as well as the rest of the Mountaineers, was the focus of much of the conversation at Big 12 Conference Media Days among media members and players and coaches from the other schools in the conference.
At Kansas State, head coach Bill Snyder already has his defense watching film of the Mountaineer offense that will be led by Smith again in 2012. Wildcat junior linebacker Tre Walker, who had 52 tackles in 2011, knows Smith and company are as dangerous as any in the conference.
"We’ve been watching film on (Smith)," Walker said. "He’s elusive. He’s what we call a dual-threat quarterback; he can throw and run at the same time."
The Wildcats understand the tough task they have midway through the season when they come to Morgantown Oct. 20.
Walker has gotten to watch film on Smith from the win against Clemson in the Orange Bowl, as well as WVU’s loss to Louisville, during the offseason.
"I know that he’s got a post throw that is right on the dot, from the hash. I know that he makes three looks before he comes out of the pocket and takes off for the run," Walker said. "I know he waits, he hesitates before he runs, he doesn’t just take off running. He waits to see where all five of his wide receivers are."
Walker and Kansas State aren’t the only ones who have been sizing up the senior quarterback. The Oklahoma Sooners take on WVU at Milan Puskar Stadium in what many are speculating could be a big factor in who wins the Big 12 title this season. Head coach Bob Stoops recognizes Smith’s talent, as well as the rest of the Mountaineer team heading into 2012.
The Sooners’ quarterback, Landry Jones – the most veteran quarterback in the league – has taken a backseat to Smith in the preseason. In some eyes, Jones was slighted when he was named the second team quarterback in the conference. Jones’ teammate, center Ben Habern, feels like Jones will use that as motivation when the season comes around.
"I think, if anything, he’ll use it as motivation," Habern said. "Nothing to take away from Geno, he’s a great football player, but for Landry, I think he’ll use it just as motivation during the season."