Geno Smith Is Just A System Quarterback?

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 1, 2012


Richard Cirminiello's Monday Thought: Geno Smith has become football's newest superstar.


 
- Cirminiello: Geno Smith Is The Real Deal
- Zemek: The Teams That Aren't For Real
- Harrison: Penn State As The Big Ten Spoiler
- Johnson: The ACC's Woes Continue
- Doan: So What If Ohio State Goes 12-0? 

By Richard Cirminiello  

Geno Smith plays in a great system for quarterbacks. He is not, however, a system quarterback.

The proverbial system quarterback. He’s the guy who piles up video game-like stats on the college level despite having questionable physical ability, at least the way NFL scouts and GMs evaluate physical ability. He flourishes in an attack designed to spread out defenses, speed up the tempo and fill the air with a hailstorm of passes. He is Timmy Chang, Case Keenum, B.J. Symons and countless others who’ve been disciples of the likes of June Jones, Mike Leach and Hal Mumme. He is not Geno Smith.

Smith has put up staggering numbers through the first four games of 2012. How monstrous? He’s on pace to finish the regular season with 60 touchdown passes and 5,184 yards … and no picks. He’s also completing more than 83% of his passes, many of which have been tough throws, out routes and crossing patterns.

There aren’t a lot of dump-offs in this West Virginia attack. Because Smith is off to a record-breaking start, though, it becomes convenient for casual fans and observers to assume that the senior from Miramar, Fla. in Broward County is nothing more than a watered-down product of his system. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Those who viewed more than just the Mountaineers’ box score on Saturday got a glimpse of what Smith is all about. The numbers are sterling. But the film is even better. He’s a legitimate next-level passer who might go on to challenge everyone at his position, including USC’s Matt Barkley, for top billing at April’s NFL Draft. Smith is well-sized, has a great feel for the pocket and throws the best ball of anyone at this level. And the competition may not even be close.

His receivers, especially Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, are loaded with talent, but Smith makes the job of those around him so much easier by delicately dropping the ball into their hands. His precision, accuracy and timing are impeccable. His release is quick, and his decision-making is improving.

I spent time with West Virginia AD Oliver Luck in the spring. When the subject of his program’s quarterback came up, he raved about the maturation of Smith in Morgantown, not just as a passer, but also as a student of the game. Luck described No. 12 as one of the smartest and most mature young quarterbacks he’d been around.

They were words of high praise from a man whose own son was the top overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. He went on to say that Smith is a highly cerebral athlete who’ll get better as he spends more time learning from inventive head coach Dana Holgorsen. The dividends from that relationship have really begun to bear fruit for both sides this season.

Don’t downplay or dismiss Geno Smith because he strafed the Baylor D for a record-setting eight touchdowns and 656 yards on 45-of-51 passing this past weekend. He’s just maximizing his talent, taking what defenses give him and blossoming into the kind of all-around quarterback who’s capable of following a similar trajectory to Sundays that RG3 rode at this time last year.

- Cirminiello: Geno Smith Is The Real Deal
- Zemek: The Teams That Aren't For Real
- Harrison: Penn State As The Big Ten Spoiler
- Johnson: The ACC's Woes Continue
- Doan: So What If Ohio State Goes 12-0?