The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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June 13, 2013

Geno in close battle with Sanchez for Jets’ QB spot

WVU Notebook

BECKLEY — If Geno Smith isn’t the starter this fall with the New York Jets, West Virginia University’s all-time leading passer won’t necessarily be holding a clipboard on the sidelines.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan told ESPN.com Wednesday that he was open to using Smith in a specialized package, perhaps taking advantage of some read-option plays.

“I think he’s got the athleticism to do that,” said Ryan in an interview at a minicamp. “They didn’t run a whole lot of zone reads (at WVU), but he has the skill set to where there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to do that.

“I don’t know what he timed in the 40, but the guy can run. Clearly, he has good mobility.”

Smith, though, is hoping his role will be a little more permanent.

According to an Associated Press report, the battle for the starting quarterback position — in which Smith, a rookie, is competing with last year’s starter, Mark Sanchez — is still too close to call.

Sanchez had been getting most of the repetitions with the first-team unit in the early minicamp sessions, but Smith was given his opportunity to run the first-team unit for most of Wednesday’s sessions and will got a chance to display his ability.

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The Mountaineer basketball schedule is nearing completion.

The pairings for the 2013 Cancun Challenge, in which WVU will participate, were announced Wednesday, adding four more dates to the 2013-14 slate.

The first two games of the event will be played on campus sites, and the WVU Coliseum will be one of those. Georgia Southern will visit Morgantown on Nov. 21, and Presbyterian will be at WVU on Nov. 23.

The other two games will be played at the Aventura Palace resort near Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

WVU will play Old Dominion in the first game there on Nov. 26. The Mountaineers will play either Saint Louis or Wisconsin in the second game on Nov. 27.

Previous champions of the event, which turns a ballroom into an arena, include Vanderbilt (2008), Kentucky (2009), Missouri (2010), Illinois (2011) and Wichita State (2012).

WVU’s games in Mexico will be televised live in HD on CBS Sports Network.

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Former WVU star Da’Sean Butler will be holding basketball camps around the state next month.

The Da’Sean Butler Elite Basketball Camp Tour will begin in Morgantown on July 15. On July 16, the tour will stop in Keyser.

Southern West Virginia stops include Charleston on July 18 and Bluefield on July 19.

The camps will run from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Campers will participate in games, stations and skills contests, and they’ll receive a camp T-shirt and an autographed picture of Da’Sean Butler.

The cost of the camp is $75. To register, contact Chet Ervin at cervin@kmgsports.com.

Basketball isn’t the only thing on Butler’s mind these days. The star of WVU’s 2010 Final Four run became a father last week, welcoming his first son, Draelyn.

— E-mail: chuffman@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

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