The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

September 5, 2011

Delays can’t stop WVU QB Smith

MORGANTOWN — While the delays that permeated the West Virginia-Marshall “Friends of Coal Bowl” Sunday forced most players to stop what they were doing, they didn’t stop Geno Smith.

The Mountaineer quarterback kept playing.

And, like Charlie Sheen, he was winning.

OK, it was NCAA Football, the video game.

But he was just as effective as he was during the actual game, which concluded a 34-13 WVU win in a game ended with 14:46 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The game featured a 3:03 delay and another 1:15 stoppage before it was mercifully ended.

But Smith just kept on keeping on.

“I demolished my teammates in video games,” Smith said. “I think I beat (running back) Shawn (Alston), (defensive back) Mike (Dorsey) and (backup QB) Paul (Millard) in an hour span. I take pride in that.”

When the day-long affair was actually being played, Smith was just as proficient at taking apart the Marshall defense.

The junior quarterback completed 26 of 35 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns.

And that was in three quarters.

All day he was point-on, making smart decisions.

“I think the system worked pretty good,” Smith said. “Not to our expectations. We are nowhere near where we want to be at this point. But we understand that it’s about progression and to not get down on ourselves.”

Marshall basically sold out to stop the run, and they did, holding the young running backs to just 35 yards.

Smith finished with just seven, but he had a couple of big runs that aided drives. He joked that he would probably get in trouble Monday for his running around.

Understandable.

This offense is nowhere without Smith in the lineup.

He said he isn’t afraid to run if he has to run, though it’s not in the template of what coach Dana Holgorsen wants to do

“Whenever you can make a play, make a first down, it’s always a plus for the offense,” Smith said. “I’ve gotten a lot healthier (than he has been in two years) and I worked on that in the off-season. It’s going to pay off in the future.”

Smith sure did make it look easy Sunday night, although that is never the case.

But after repping it again and again and again in practice, coach Dana Holgorsen’s offense is almost second nature.

“You’re not out there wondering what you’re supposed to do,” Smith said. “It is second nature. We rep it so much that we know exactly what we’re supposed to do.”

As he does in the video game time-killing hours of delays.

Ironically, he never plays himself.

“I wouldn’t do that,” Smith joked. “I don’t want to get hurt.”

Even in a video game, the thought of Smith not running the offense is scarier to Mountaineer fans than a 4:18 minute delay.

— E-mail: demorrison@

register-herald.com

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