Orange Bowl headlined by QBs Smith, Boyd
Published: Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2011 00:12
This year's Discover Orange Bowl will feature two high-powered offenses led by two quarterbacks who are among the best in their respective conferences.
West Virginia is led by junior quarterback Geno Smith, who threw for a school-record 3,978 yards to go with 25 touchdowns this season.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said a quarterback as talented as Smith will definitely be a challenge for a Clemson defense that ranks No. 39 in the nation in pass defense. The Tigers allow close to 203 yards per game through the air.
"I've seen West Virginia a few times," Swinney said. "Geno is incredibly talented and can make all the throws obviously. He's statistically as good as there is in the country."
On the other sideline will be Clemson's junior quarterback Tajh Boyd.
It looked like Boyd would go on to be the Mountaineers' signal caller one day, but decommitted from West Virginia in October of 2008.
"We got on him late (in the recruiting process). I had just got the job literally about a week," Swinney said. "I know he has a tremendous amount of respect for their program and he's excited about playing them, and he knows a lot of the guys. We have several guys that know each other."
Both Boyd and Smith are currently ranked in the top 10 in the nation in passing yards, and West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen sees a lot of similarities between the two quarterbacks that will be showcased in the Orange Bowl.
"I haven't studied (film) as much as we will over the next few weeks, but they're two tremendous players who have the ability to keep a play alive," Holgorsen said.
While both coaches talked highly of the quarterbacks their teams will be trying to stop, they both know they've got good ones on their side who can help put points on the board.
"Geno is incredibly competitive – one of the most competitive kids that I've ever been around," Holgorsen said. "He loves to play, he shows up every day, and he's just going to try to get better.
"There's a lot of things that he needs to work on, as do I as a head coach, but the encouraging thing is that he shows up every day wanting to get better.'
Orange Bowl important for recruiting
Both West Virginia and Clemson rely heavily on Florida when recruiting every year.
So it goes without saying that the Orange Bowl is a great opportunity for both schools to continue building for future success while spending time in Florida.
"We have several kids on our roster now (from Florida), but historically at Clemson, we have had some of our greatest players from this state," Swinney said. "To know that these guys have the opportunity to play in the Orange Bowl, the exposure you get, the marketing that you get ... you can't put a price on that."
Holgorsen echoed Swinney's statements but went further by saying that making an appearance in a BCS game like the Orange Bowl will help to continue branching out when recruiting throughout the nation, as well as the states where they already have solid foundations built.
"Wednesday night, Jan. 4, there's going to be people from the west coast all the way to the east coast watching," Holgorsen said. "The exposure for the whole week being in South Florida is awesome. It's awesome because of the magnitude of the game and the magnitude of the BCS."