MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Quinton Spain saw first-hand how a few innocuous comments muttered in Morgantown can mean something entirely different upon reaching New York.

Allan Taylor/MetroNews

West Virginia left tackle Quinton Spain says the media took quotes about WVU’s poor finish in 2012 and “twisted the whole thing up”.

“They just twisted the whole thing up,” Spain said Tuesday, referencing misdirected media assertions that he, Dustin Garrison and Andrew Buie criticized Geno Smith for a lack of leadership in 2012.

None of those current WVU players cited Smith personally or insinuated the quarterback was at fault for the Mountaineers losing six of their final eight games last season.

But New York Jets coach Rex Ryan took the bait nonetheless, firing back at a West Virginia program that hadn’t fired in the first place.

“It tells me I’m glad my kid never went there. Tell you that much. I don’t get that,” Ryan said. “Geno was a tremendous player for West Virginia.”

Ryan’s son Seth walked on at Clemson where, hopefully, he’s learning reading comprehension skills his father clearly lacks. Here were the players’ direct quotes that spawned this silliness:

— “Last year we didn’t have a lot of leadership,” Garrison said.
— “I feel like last year, we fell apart,” Buie said. “At certain moments where we needed to be a team, we weren’t a team.”
— “There wasn’t no team,” Spain said. “I could say there was a team early, but once we started losing we saw the I’s come up, so it just hurt the team worse.”

If you can detect a Geno Smith reference in there, you’re not just reading between the lines, you’re scripting the lines between the lines. Yet from those comments come inaccurate headlines such as:

“Rex Ryan responds to WVU’s veiled shots at Geno Smith” (Sporting News)
“Rex doesn’t get why Geno is taking hits from West Virginia (ProFootballTalk.com)
“Rex Ryan has some words for Geno Smith detractors (FoxSports.com)

In this age of content aggregation, the error snowballs into a faux controversy when media members who have never interviewed any of the source participants fan the fervor.

On Tuesday, Spain could only laugh.

“Geno was a good leader,” he said.

WHITE IN GREEN
Receiver Kevin White, adorned in a green non-contact jersey during Monday’s practice, said Tuesday he doesn’t anticipate being sidelined much longer.

“I kind of nicked my shoulder up a little bit — nothing major,” he said. “I’m excited. I’m ready.”

The junior transfer from Lackawanna (Pa.) College has noticed a definite spike in intensity from coaches as preseason camp enters its final week.

“A lot more yelling and screaming,” White said. “The coaches want it to be crisp and not anything looking crappy.”

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Comments

  • Justin

    News flash Geno wasn't a good leader...hence the reason he fell in the draft

  • Daniel

    Until ownership and management change, the Jets will continue to suck. Rex is always going to be an ignorant loud-mouth that has no clue! I remember his dad (Buddy) punching Kevin Gilbride (offensive coordinator) on the sideline during a game! His dad wasn't much of a class act of a head coach either. Great defensive coordinator, but worthless as head coach! The Jets are clueless. Geno would have been better served to have gone to the Raiders where it's always "Sunny in Southern California." (sarcasm emoticon here)

  • Dozo

    I see a lot of negativity here about the WV defense of last year, but if the place kicker had made all the easy points he should have made, WV would have had a far better win record. I think Geno and the offense were one of the best offensive teams that ever took the field at WV. I also understand Geno's being upset at other Mountaineers who hadn't learned to win. The defense was so bad, that it took a superb offense to even stay close enough to still have a chance of winning in some of those losses. Geno took the hits and played his guts out and Tyler and the premature defense blew it over and over and over. Where was the esprit de corps last year? A great QB does not make an entire team effort. Geno's stats at WV tells the real story. The Jets letting Chad Pennington go soured me on that crew.

  • Brian

    QB is always looked to for leadership. You have your head in the sand if you really don't think Geno was the primary target of those comments. Furthermore, if you watched last season and don't think those comments are warranted, your head is even deeper in the sand.

  • Jimi Johnston

    Good lesson to learn about talking to reporters who look for dirt and not interested in the truth. It would serve the team that any question should be directed to Coaches as far as players making any comments mum is the word. If I could comment anyone who knows any thing about football saw a defense that looked lost and kicking game giving up too many return yards. I think any team averages 40 points a game well lets just say we need to look elsewhere for finger pointing but last year is gone and lets tighten up to make room on the bandwagon for our fair weather fans who will jump off at any. Point of the season. Lets cheer for the old gold and blue until the end.

  • BigBadJohnHenry

    The players were not referencing Geno Smith. They were talking about the coaching staff and Holgorsen in partciular. No leadership says it all.

  • Tom

    Come on now folks. Let's keep Ryan's kid out of this. Just because Rex has problems does not give us a reason to break on a person we admit we don't know a thing about. Geno did a heck of a lot for the 'eers. He was a leader and his record shows it. And he sure as heck was not on the D side where nothing, leadership included, can make up for lack of experience - which in the B12 it can't.

  • Charles C

    Good, now can we get that hack of a coach Rex Ryan to retract his statement about WVU? Probably not, being less than a man will not allow him the ability to show he overreacted and bashed WVU for no reason.

  • David

    Which is why Rex Ryan will always be a LOSER!

    However, make no mistake there was something going on and I believe people know more than they are letting on.

  • al

    Who knows what happened last year? I think you had an over inflated ego of Gino who couldn't handle the pressure once things started to fall. You had a defense that couldn't stop a bad high school team. Just my opinion though, Gino wasn't much of a leader. Look at how he behaved at the NFL draft when he wasn't going as high as he thought he should. He looked like a pouting 3 year old kid. Just my opinion. But this is a new year....Let's go Mountaineers.

  • jake

    rex was all over those mild quotes but he can"t say anything to his center for naming who he and team want as quarterback ,,,hang in there Geno,new coach next year ....

  • wvangler

    Who is Rex Ryan? What is this NFL thing? Is it a sport? I thought players retired after college. That's mildly interesting, glad they have something to occupy themselves after finishing playing the greatest sport ever - college football.

    Go Mountaineers.

  • JimB

    Guess everybody conveniently forgot Holgerson coming to Geno's defense prior to the draft. He was adamant about Geno being a leader and hard worker. Fools must have been desperate for material. Ryan sucked it right up.

  • bva24

    I didn't say he needed to be fired. I didn't say that I didn't like the offense. Read the comment before you start name calling.

    All I am saying is that a 9-3 mark in the BE (same as BS) and a 7-5 stinker last year shouldn't lead to the absolute blind faith people have. You can't question the man without getting blasted, and in my opinion he hasn't accomplished enough here to warrant it.

    To date, Karl Joseph is the only player out of three classes that has star potential. I worry that he can't recruit and throwing players under the bus and giving ESPN blowhards and other national media the chance to blast you doesn't help in that regard. You don't think other coaches won't use that against us? Its a bad look.

  • Earl Ray

    bva24, you my friend are a fool. You don't like the OFFENSE? Head coaches specialize on one side of the ball, they either have a defensive or offensive background, all of them. If the defense is poor again, hire new defensive staff. Hopefully Wal-Mart Mountaineers like yourself won't run the best offensive mind in college football out of Morgantown.