Smith for Heisman? Not So Fast
Harris, John, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
The low-key Heisman Trophy slogan for West Virginia senior quarterback Geno Smith -- courtesy of coach Dana Holgorsen -- should go something like this:
"Don't believe the hype. In Geno we trust.''
It makes sense. Holgorsen doesn't want to downplay Smith's Heisman chances, but he also doesn't want to detract from the rest of the team. Despite the desire to promote his star player, Holgorsen must consider the big picture.
This is the Mountaineers' first season in the Big 12 Conference. WVU was picked to finish second in the league by reporters who cover the league, so Smith isn't the only story in Morgantown.
"Ultimately, it's how many games you win and (Smith) going into his senior year,'' Holgorsen said. "Geno's going to be remembered for how many games you win.''
Which is why Holgorsen made the decision after meeting with members of WVU's sports communications staff not to go overboard with Smith's Heisman candidacy.
"Obviously we felt like Geno is definitely a Heisman Trophy candidate. But so is (WVU senior wide receiver) Tavon Austin. And so could some of our other players before it's all said and done,'' director of football communications Mike Montoro said. "Coach is a big proponent of team, not individual. He felt that if the team is successful, Geno will be right there when the year is over.''
So there will be no official Geno Smith for Heisman campaign at West Virginia. No weekly mailings with clever catch phrases or personalized gifts for Heisman voters. There are plans for a weekly conference call with members of the national media and plenty of raw data and video highlights detailing Smith's weekly accomplishments.
Besides, how much more info do you need to realize that Smith is one of the best quarterbacks in the country?
"They don't have to do as much as they used to,'' ESPN's Beano Cook, sectional representative for Heisman voters in the Mid- Atlantic region, said about West Virginia's somewhat casual approach toward promoting Smith. …