1:39PM EDT October 12, 2012
In baseball dugouts, mum’s the word when a pitcher has a no-hitter in the works. The same goes for football at West Virginia University, where quarterback Geno Smith has tossed 24 touchdown passes with no interceptions this season.
“The first step is to not talk about it,” says Dana Holgorsen, second-year coach and offensive mastermind of the Mountaineers. ” … We talk about completions and putting the ball where you need to put the ball.”
Smith: “I’m aware of it, but I don’t think about it.”
But the word is out, and the nation will be watching when No. 4 West Virginia puts it 5-0 record and Smith’s 24-0 streak on the line Saturday at Texas Tech (4-1).
Smith, a 6-3, 220-pound senior, has moved to the top of the Heisman Trophy watch lists. Two weeks ago, he threw for 656 yards and eight touchdowns in a 70-63 win against Baylor. Last weekend at Texas, he lost a pair of fumbles but still threw for 268 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-45 victory.
The West Virginia defense (108 points allowed in those two wins) doesn’t give the Mountaineers much margin for error in their debut season in the high-scoring Big 12. After taking on Texas Tech, they’ll enter a four-game stretch against No. 5 Kansas State, No. 23 TCU, Oklahoma State and No. 10 Oklahoma.
But in the face of that gauntlet and with the Heisman hype building, Smith is sticking to his game plan of studying scouting videos, finding open receivers and delivering the ball.
“The accolades, whatever comes my way, are going to be a result of my hard work. So why even get big-headed and forget what got me here?” says Smith, who has thrown for 1,996 yards with an 81.4% completion rate.
Those are around him at West Virginia says he’s got the demeanor to handle the expectations.
“Geno does a good job of that. He understands that the way to handle it is to get back to work,” says Holgorsen.
Wide receiver Stedman Bailey, West Virginia’s leader this season with 13 touchdowns catches and teammate of Smith’s at Miramar (Fla.) High, says, “Geno, he’s not a guy that get caught up in all the hype. He just looks to take care of business here, and everything else will just fall into place for him.”
Texas Tech Coach Tommy Tuberville, whose team had its first loss of the season 41-20 last weekend at Oklahoma, is the latest opposing coach to sing the praises of Smith. He’s seen plenty of high-powered offenses.
“No. 1, you’ve got to have a quarterback, and they’ve got one. They’ve got a real good one,” says Tuberville.
In multiple stops as an offensive assistant and coordinator, Holgorsen racked up huge passing numbers with such quarterbacks as Graham Harrell of Texas Tech, Case Keenum of Houston and Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State. When Smith first met Holgorsen, he was unfamiliar with his rèsumè, but not for long.
“That was something that people let me know immediately,” Smith says. “People were saying he’s a quarterback guru, an offensive guru, and it turned out to be true.”
Holgorsen’s offense is his version of the “Air Raid Attack” that Texas Tech ran when he coached there under Mike Leach. It’s a spread, up-tempo, no-huddle offense that attacks all over the field.
As a junior under Holgorsen, Smith threw for 31 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He capped West Virginia’s 10-3 season with six touchdown passes in a 70-33 romp against Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
His mission is to get better.
After his huge game against Baylor, Smith was in the lobby of the West Virginia football complex holding his postgame team meal, a pizza. It was time to celebrate — for everybody but Smith.
“When his mom walked in, he handed her the box of pizza, and he went to the film room with me,” says Jake Spavital, West Virginia’s quarterbacks coach.
Smith watches the game video right after every game. “He likes to go through it and reassure himself that he’s doing the right things,” says Spavital.
Smith says his mother, Tracey Sellers, who traveled to Morgantown from south Florida for the Baylor games, gets upset sometimes that he doesn’t get “excited about everything,” such as eight TD passes in a game. “But she understands that I’m very serious about what I do, and I work very hard at it. That’s just the way I am,” says Smith.
As a youngster in Florida, Smith (whose full first name is Eugene) was identified as a gifted student in the arts, whether it was writing poetry, sketching, painting or acting in school productions. He is an English major at WVU.
Does he ever get a break from football these days?
“When I’m off the field, when I’m not in the film room, when I’m at home, I’m just Eugene Smith. … I just like to lay on the couch and watch TV,” he says. He’s partial to animated family sitcoms. His favorites TV shows, in order, are The Cleveland Show and its predecessor, Family Guy.
But his main focus is football. His primary viewing is watching scouting video of opposing defenses.
“It’s just the way I think the game should be approached,” says Smith. “If you put yourself behind the eight-ball by not studying film, by not being prepared, you don’t do as well out there on the field.”
Smith has input with the coaches on the game plan. They trust him to change plays on the field. “Coach Holgorsen and his staff are comfortable with me making reads and checks out on the field. I don’t get too careless with that,” he says.
Oliver Luck, West Virginia’s athletics director and former Mountaineers quarterback, has seen Smith develop since last season.
“When you’re in the second year of a system … you see the biggest leap forward,” says Luck. ” … He’s always had the physical ability to throw to a beautiful ball, strong arm, smart, he sees the field very well, he can move well enough in the pocket. I think it’s really just understanding what Dana’s system is all about and when to be patient … and when you can really afford to launch one down the field.”
Luck knows Heisman hype. His son, Andrew Luck, was the Heisman runner-up the past two seasons at Stanford and No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. He’s now quarterbacking the Indianapolis Colts. Oliver Luck is confident Smith can handle the Heisman talk.
“I think he knows. He’s heard from a number of people, Dana on down, to not even to worry about it. At the end of the day — I remember talking to Andrew about this — there’s 900 and some voters, and all you can do is go out and perform as best you can,” says Luck.
Smith is hardly a one-man show. In addition to Bailey, his receiving targets include Tavon Austin, who has eight touchdown catches this season.
Smith threw his last interception Dec. 1 last season against South Florida. Since then, he has thrown 258 passes without an interception.
“It’s kind of a result of having good receivers,” says Smith. “They don’t tip the ball in the air. They rarely drop it. They run good routes. They’re always where I need them to be on time.”
Tuberville of Texas Tech also says the Mountaineers’ running game helps Smith. Last week at Texas, Andrew Buie ran for 207 yards and two touchdowns.
Tuberville says that running element makes Holgorsen different from some spread offense coaches.
“He understand running the ball,” says Tuberville. “It takes the pressure you’re your quarterback. … They also do a very good, sneaky job with running the football. They’re very physical.”
Credit an offensive line anchored by center Joe Madsen for that. Even after Smith’s performance against Baylor, the West Virginia coaches gave Madsen the team’s weekly Offensive Champion award.
“I haven’t had any incompletions (on snaps) … but I have no touchdowns,” Madsen says with a laugh.
“He (Smith) could get it every week. You just spread it out.”
Geno Smith was born on October 10th, 1990 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geno_smith
October 10th, 1990
10 + 10 +1+9+9+0 = 39 = his life lesson = Ideal. Dream come true. A nice guy.
October 10th, 1990
10 + 10 = 20 = his core number = Sound judgement.
October 10th, 1990
10 +1+9+9+0 = 29 = his “secret” number = Skilled. Talented. Self-confidence. Teamwork. Cooperation.
October 10th, 1990
10 + 10 +2+0+1+2 = 25 = his personal year (from October 10th, 2012 to October 9th, 2013) = Excitement. Rooting for the underdog.
25 year + 10 (October) = 35 = his personal month (from October 10th, 2012 to November 9th, 2012) = Quarterback. Defense. Perseverance. Not giving up.
Each letter of the first name rules 9 years of life. Ages 0 to 27 are ruled by the sum of the month of birth and the first three letters of the name.
October 10th, 1990 Geno Smith
7 (G is the 7th letter of the alphabet) + 5 (e is the 5th letter of the alphabet) + 14 (n is the 14th letter of the alphabet) + 10 (October is the 10th month of the year) = 36
So the numbers 10 (October), 26 (sum of the first three letters of the name), and 36 (10+26=36) rule his first twenty-seven years of life.
10 = Going with the flow.
26 = Popular. Fans. In the news. Making headlines.
36 = Maximum achievement.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
7556 14928 47
his path of destiny = 47 = Famous. Internationally known. Hall of Fame.
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