Geno Smith leads WVU into Big 12 play
September 27, 2012 ·
After much excitement, West Virginia University’s football team finally plays this weekend in its new conference, the Big 12. The Baylor Bears are the first in-conference opponent.
Geno Smith is the quarterback on WVU’s football team.
He’s a senior, who has started every game since he began his sophomore season.
He’s also been receiving a great deal of attention from national sportswriters as a candidate for the top honor in college football, the Heisman trophy.
At the moment, Geno’s standing at a podium in front of scores of reporters, wearing a Miami Marlins ballcap and a Beatles tee-shirt, depicting the musicians in their famous walk across Abbey Road.
He’s being asked about football, the Heisman hype, and even what his favorite breakfast cereal is.
"Cinnamon Toast Crunch," he tells reporters.
Smith is from southern Florida, where he went to Miramar High School, just down the road from the stadium where WVU played and won the Orange Bowl last season.
He’s now the school’s leader in several offensive statistical categories, including passing yards, pass attempts, pass completions, and passing touchdowns. But to Smith, statistics don’t mean much.
"We never know what the statistics are going to be, we don’t care about statistics," Smith says.
"Like I always said, if I throw for zero yards, and we run the ball 300 times and win the game, that’s a great game."
WVU is 3-0 to start the season, with wins over the University of Maryland, Marshall University, and James Madison University.
This weekend, the Mountaineers face the University of Baylor, which is also undefeated.
Smith says he’s not too familiar with this new opponent, but the team has his respect.
"We’ve got to make sure that we come in ready to play, and be ready for anything; aside from the coaches we know nothing about these guys," he said.
"I’ve never played anyone from Texas, I’m not from Texas, I’ve got a few teammates who are from there and kind of got some familiarity with some guys on the team, but other than that, it’s all new for us."
The Heisman Trophy is an award given every year to the most outstanding player in collegiate football.
No one from WVU has ever won the Heisman.
Last year’s winner was Robert Griffin III, who played for Baylor.
Art Briles is the head coach of the Baylor football team.
He says there’s undoubtedly pressure on a person to perform well when mentioned as a Heisman candidate.
"It’s constant, it’s kind of like in a golf game. You make one bad shot, and then all of a sudden everybody is talking about that one bad shot instead of those 68 that you hit right," Briles said.
"That’s what happens when you get in this hunt, you can be in it one day and then two weeks later, you can be not right in the middle of it."
Smith has thrown 12 touchdowns in three games this season, and he’s yet to be intercepted.
While sportswriters and fans observe and critique, Smith says his job is to lead the team to victories, and not worry about any speculation.
"You can look at the NFL and guys never put up the same stats from week to week. It’s because basically everyone is competing out there, you’re never going to be perfect," Smith said.
"Guys are going to come in, and if you did good last week, they’re going to come in and be focused and they don’t want you to do good against them. That’s the way I take the game, I never force anything, I let the game come to me. That’s the way I play."
In last week’s victory over Maryland, WVU had some problems moving the ball and putting up points, but WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen says WVU’s quarterback and team are doing just fine.
"Everybody wants to say he didn’t play very good last week, but I think he played pretty good, completed 70 percent of his passes, three touchdowns, for over 300 yards. He did a great job taking care of the ball," he said.
"We put more on him than the past game because we didn’t do a good job of getting the run game going. He got hit a few times, and he didn’t allow that to affect his performance at all, so I think he’s performing at a very high level."
The WVU, Baylor game will begin at noon Friday. Country singer Trace Adkins will sing the national anthem.