The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

August 14, 2012

Smith’s play a weighty issue

West Virginia quarterback comfortable after gaining 11 pounds

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University quarterback Geno Smith popped something of a secret the other day.

“I’ll play the same way this year, but in a bigger body,” he stated. “I’ve added on some weight the past two summers.”

The 6-foot-3 Miami native has gone from 214 to 225 pounds. Obviously, that’s an increase of 11.

“As far as weight goes, it’s something that will help me broad out a little against the hits I take,” he said.

“Yes, I feel more comfortable at 225 than I did at 214.”

He keeps saying that he continues to get better each day in camp. His pass receivers say they’ve noticed the difference.

“I think our offensive line is a lot better this year than it was last season, too,” Geno said. “Those guys did a good job (in 2011 as the Mountaineers finished 10-3). You have the most confidence in these guys.

“I tell them all the time, they are the engine that runs the ship. You have confidence in them because they do a great job.”

Smith gives the linemen considerable credit for the progress being made by the offense as the Sept. 1 season opener against Marshall rapidly approaches.

“We just want to keep working hard on offense,” he said. “And I think a lot of those guys on defense are doing a good job. They’re making plays.”

Smith noted that he has had a chance to hang out with some of the newcomers and some of the older guys have helped them in camp.

“The freshmen are eager to pick up what they are supposed to do,” he said. “So we expect them to step up and make plays.

“I think the coaches not only are recruiting guys who are both mentally and physically ready to play. They understand and do care to compete.

“They want to compete, and that’s the best part about it.”

Geno admits that last season there were times when he did not make the right reads to make plays. But he continues working on that and the other parts of his game.

“Over the season, though, I believe I have been a better leader,” he said. “And I’ve continued to progress.

“I get better everyday. I am trying to be perfect. I think I’ve learned from the mistakes I’ve made.

“Right now I think it’s paying off.”

For his three years as a quarterback, Smith has completed 619 of 947 passes for 7,457 yards and 56 touchdowns. He also rushed 179 times for a net 191 yards and scored twice.

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