MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Geno Smith says he’s not at all surprised with the depth chart new West Virginia University head football coach Dana Holgorsen released earlier this month. Some guys Smith played alongside last year are now a line or two below him.
“One great thing about our coaching staff is whoever works the hardest and whoever wants it is going to be the guy who plays,” Smith said Wednesday afternoon. “I respect that and I agree with that. I feel like those guys who work hard are going to be the ones who help us win.”
And right now for the players it has been all work with strength and conditioning coach Mike Joseph and his staff, says Smith.
“Overall, we’re working hard as a team. We’re progressing,” he said. “We’re getting better and it’s going to be a great fall camp.”
According to Smith, the player-supervised 7 on 7 passing the team has been doing this summer could be really important when the coaches are permitted to get their hands on the players in August.
“We’ve been working on timing,” Smith said. “In the 7 on 7 we have been running, we’ve been working against the d-backs and doing everything to get our timing down.”
Smith noted that timing is one of the most important characteristics of Holgorsen’s offense.
“When it comes down to throwing, the D-line and the O-line are just bumping heads. It’s all about the secondary and the receivers when it comes down to the coverages and everything,” Smith explained. “That timing is going to be important for us. We’ve got to be on-point with our reads. We’ve got to get lined up fast and we’ve got to make sure we put pressure on the defense.”
Smith has been impressed with some of the newcomers working out with the veterans, especially Texas running back Dustin Garrison, who came on West Virginia’s radar late in the recruiting process when Holgorsen first joined the program.
“Dustin is a beast when it comes to working out,” Smith said. “I really like the safety kid we have in, I can’t remember his name, but he has long hair and he’s pretty good. Dante Campbell out wide is a big body and he has good hands and a big frame. I’m just looking forward to seeing the other guys that we have coming in, and looking forward to camp coming up and looking forward to getting better.
“I am looking forward to helping those guys get better as well.”
Smith said he is still not 100 percent after off-season foot surgery for the second time in his career, but he is at least now finally able to participate in all of the running drills.
“Everything is full-go and I’ve been participating with the team doing drills I haven’t done in like four years,” he laughed. “It’s great.”
That may be the case, but don’t expect the junior to be out there running options and quarterback draws this fall in Holgorsen’s offense.
“I’m not the running type of quarterback, but I can make good decisions and make the throws and our offense requires that,” Smith said. “I think that’s what makes this so good.”
“If it’s there I can get five yards. That’s all I can get now,” he added.
Throughout the spring, Holgorsen made positive comments about Geno’s “body language” and mannerisms on the field. That is something Smith says he plans on continuing in the fall.
“He told me that numerous times. I just take it as I like football and I go out there and work hard and I have fun doing it,” Smith said.
With roughly six weeks remaining until the start of fall training camp, Smith said he is going to continue to work hard and study as much as he can to be fully prepared for the start of the 2011 season.
“I know that sounds cliché but I just take every day for what it’s worth,” he said. “I try to lock in and focus on each day – every rep, every sprint, everything we do. I just try and be a good leader to my teammates and try and help us win.”More from Geno …
- Smith said he has studied tape from this spring but not really to use it as a gauge to judge how far he has progressed in Holgorsen’s offense so far.
“It’s about me getting better now,” Smith noted. “I’ve been watching film and I try and break it down and just get better at the things I wasn’t good at in the spring.
“Our offense isn’t really complex. It is something that is very easy to get down, and I think it’s just about getting our timing better,” he continued. “If we can get pin-point timing I feel like we can be unstoppable in this offense.”
- Smith was asked about former Miramar High teammate Ivan McCartney, West Virginia’s touted receiver who caught just one pass last year as a freshman and is currently third on the depth chart at Z receiver behind junior Ryan Nehlen and senior Bradley Starks.
“He has just got to work hard. The kid has a great upside,” Smith said. “He has a great amount of talent and it comes down to his work ethic. If he works hard and he wants to be great then he can surely go out and do it.”
- Smith was also asked if Holgorsen has changed any since he was named head coach earlier this month.
“Coach Holgorsen is a straight-forward guy. He doesn’t let anything rattle him,” he said. “That’s the demeanor we take from him and we are going to do the same thing as a team. He has been the same cool, laid-back guy as he was when he first got here.”
Smith said Holgorsen did a good job of shielding the players from the drama that played out in the press and on the Internet earlier this month.
“Never once did he talk to us about that,” Smith said. “He is just taking over a year early. We respect that and we understand that he’s here to help us win and we want to win for him.”
- On getting working with the centers in Holgorsen’s new offense and making calls at the line of scrimmage. “If I am audibling I will just alert my center and just give the audible. It is just as simple as that,” Smith explained. “As long as we communicate we won’t have any issues.”Follow John Antonik on Twitter: @JohnAntonik