The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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College Sports

October 28, 2011

QB Smith took WVU loss hard

Nobody took West Virginia’s 49-23 loss to Syracuse harder than quarterback Geno Smith.

The junior signal-caller was sacked five times, hurried at least a dozen other times and intercepted twice.

“He takes it pretty tough,” coach Dana Holgorsen said. “It means something to him, which is what you want to see. The guys that go to the locker room after a loss, hurry up and get dressed, kid around and don’t have the look of a loss on their faces, that’s what you worry about. That’s what kills your football team. We had that happen to a few guys, which we addressed. Geno is a guy that it means an awful lot to.”

It is an obvious concern that Smith was under duress most of the night.

The Mountaineers (5-2, 1-1 Big East) have a chance to rectify that loss when they travel to Rutgers (5-2, 2-1) Saturday. The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on ABC.

Smith shouldn’t shoulder all the blame. As Holgorsen said, there was enough blame to go around.

“We didn’t do a good job of that, which we’ll put on our shoulders as offensive coaches,” Holgorsen said.

The receivers also could have helped, he said.

“We didn’t sight-adjust routes very much,” Holgorsen said. “We didn’t win on fade routes. Although they kept a lid on, we were able to get behind them and go, but we got pushed out of bounds about 90 percent of the time. If we’re not able to attack blitzes with runs or we’re not able to sight-adjust routes or hold up our one-on-one matchups, then it poses some serious problems. We didn’t do a very good job with those.”

And obviously, the offensive line just wasn’t good.

“One of the biggest problems with what was happening was when they brought pressure, our offensive line just got whipped,” Holgorsen said. “That goes back to who was playing harder. It was very evident to me on tape that they were playing much, much harder than we were, which is disturbing.”

It’s all part of learning and putting that learning to practical use on the field.

“Adversity is going to hit, and we have to be able to handle it,” Holgorsen said. “What we do during the course of the week, we have to overcome it and fix it. That’s what we’re going to be looking for our upperclassmen to be able to do.”

— E-mail: demorrison@register-herald.com

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