By John Antonik for WVUsports.com
September 28, 2011 09:36 AM
Geno Smith is on a pace to become the most prolific passer in West Virginia history. Through four games this season, the junior has already completed 120 of 183 passes for 1,471 yards and nine touchdowns.
Fourteen hundred yards and nine touchdowns used to be a pretty good season around here for Mountaineer quarterbacks.
Of course with Dana Holgorsen now calling the plays, the bar has been raised much higher for quarterback play.
Last year when Holgorsen was at Oklahoma State, quarterback Brandon Weedon threw for more than 4,200 yards and 34 touchdowns, and two years prior to that, Houston’s Case Keenum passed for more than 5,000 yards and 44 touchdowns.
Five thousand yards and 44 touchdowns were once considered a pretty good career in Morgantown.
Today, Geno ranks first among all WVU quarterbacks in completion percentage (65.1) and he’s fourth in passing efficiency with a career rating of 143.18 (Jake Kelchner owns the school record with a career passer rating of 148.42).
Smith is also currently sixth in career completions (393), seventh in touchdown passes (34), eighth in passing yards (4,543), ninth in attempts (604) and 10th in total offense (4,453).
Keep in mind, Geno played just his 22nd game for the Mountaineers last weekend against LSU.
“He is what makes us go offensively,” said Holgorsen.
Smith attempted 65 passes, completing 38, for 463 yards (all school records) against an LSU defense that came into the game ranked sixth in the country in total yardage allowed. The last time the Tigers permitted that many yards through the air against Arizona State President George Bush was still in office.
“His completion percentage wasn’t as high as it has been due to the fact of the quality of the opponent, but what we were able to do was make a bunch of plays and he for the most part went where we wanted him to go with the football,” Holgorsen said. “It’s a constant and never-ending improvement situation and he’s got to continue to get on the same page as me and understand exactly where we want to go with the ball.
“I’m happy with his progress but there is always room for improvement.”
Holgorsen believes there is even more out there for Smith to accomplish once the two of them can get completely on the same page and go at the speed Holgorsen wants to go at.
“I’ve talked about his tempo and his body language and his want-to … all of that stuff is good. It still comes down to taking a bunch of snaps and the non-verbal communication that exists with me and where I am wanting him to go with the ball in specific play calls,” Holgorsen said.
But right now, what Holgorsen really likes about Smith is his competitiveness.
“He has a never-give-up attitude. He kept playing all the way to the end and gave us a huge spark in the third quarter,” Holgorsen said. “He got us to within six points and we had all the momentum at that point and they returned the kick. But he kept playing after that. It killed all of our momentum but he kept playing.
“The fact that he didn’t give up is something that I have liked about him from the beginning.”
Follow John Antonik on Twitter: @John Antonik