During his comments to the media following the first pre-season practice Friday, new Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen mentioned that he hadn’t had a starting quarterback miss a game with an injury in nearly 20 previous years as an assistant coach.
That’s a remarkable statement.
Holgorsen, of course, has helped design and implement cutting edge passing systems at Oklahoma State, Houston and Texas Tech in recent seasons.
Current Mountaineer quarterback Geno Smith has a feel for the system after working in it this spring. Smith had some thoughts on why the quarterbacks in the Holgorsen system manage to remain upright and healthy.
“We aren’t asked to run at all,” Smith said. “That’s the first thing. Our job is to put the ball into the hands of the playmakers. Get rid of it.”
Smith believes he shares most of the characteristics of the quarterbacks who have had success in the system previously.
“A quick release,” Smith said of the first key. “Just making good pre-snap reads and getting rid of the ball. I can also adjust on the fly. If the defense sends a blitz, I can hit the hot route. It’s all about being heady out there.
“Of course a good offensive line and God’s blessing also helps.”
“You see Payton Manning out there,” Smith continued. “He never takes hits. Even when he gets sacked he just falls down. I am going to try and do something like that too.”
Smith says he and the coaches need to be careful during camp not to overwork his arm prior to the start of the season with just two quarterbacks in camp.
“It’s a two-man wolf pack out there,” Smith joked. “We’re on a pitch count but we can’t try and save ourselves. We know (camp) is going to be a grind.
“But as long as we continue to take care of our bodies and get treatment and get protected by the line, we’ll be fine,” Smith said.