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September 17, 2012
No. 7/8 West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen has had some very good quarterbacks over the years, but none that have put up the kind of numbers that senior quarterback Geno Smith has in his first two games.
Smith has thrown nine touchdown passes to only nine incompletions against Marshall and James Madison, and while it's a remarkable start Holgorsen knows the slate will get much tougher.
"If he can continue to play like that against better competition then it's something special," he said.
Smith has taken care of the ball in the first two weeks of the season, while making good decisions getting the ball out of his hands to the playmakers on the roster. Holgorsen credits some of the success to his transformed body that has gotten bigger, stronger and faster over the off-season and it comes as no surprise to the coaching staff as Smith is just continuing to perform like he has in practice.
The Mountaineers (2-0) will host border rival Maryland (2-1) this weekend, and it's a game where there's a lot of familiarity between the two programs, according to Holgorsen.
The second-year head coach believes that the series is important due to the fact that it's a long-played regional rivalry that the Mountaineers often square off against on the recruiting trail.
Given the move to the Big 12, West Virginia is searching for non-conference opponents that fit that regional profile and Maryland is one that should continue to be played for the foreseeable future.
"This is one that will remain on the schedule and we have a dozen guys that are from Maryland," he said. " A lot of familiarity between the two programs and it will continue to exist."
The Terrapins are a young team this season led by freshman quarterback Perry Hills and dynamic true freshman wide receiver Stephon Diggs, who's used a lot like West Virginia's Tavon Austin in the Maryland offense.
"He's their number one return guy, they get him the ball in a lot of different ways. He's a good player and he's going to continue to get better and better," he said.
When asked about Smith running the football, Holgorsen said that if the staff wanted to they could give him the label of being a running quarterback by calling zone reads and similar plays but that's just not what the offense requires. One area that he has excelled in so far is that he's been able to get away from the pressure and avoid getting sacked.
Holgorsen addressed co-defensive coordinator Keith Patterson and how his "obsession" to stop an offense similar to the Mountaineers helped draw the head man to him in the offseason.