MORGANTOWN — Geno Smith has set numerous career records as West Virginia University’s quarterback during his three years as a starter.
What’s more, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior from Miami, was an early leader for the Heisman Trophy until the Mountaineers (7-5, 4-5 Big 12) fell out of the top 25 polls after ranking No. 5 on a 5-0 season’s start.
Smith didn’t finish among the 10 top Heisman Trophy vote-getters.
But Fred Wyant of Morgantown, WVU’s starting quarterback from 1952 through 1955, thinks Geno might well could have won college football’s top award if he had shown more versatility and run more with the ball.
Wyant’s reasoning is that he could have been even more productive and that the team probably could have avoided that disastrous five-game losing streak.
Asked whether he thought it was an injustice to Smith and other seniors when West Virginia moved to the Big 12 from the Big East, Wyant replied:
“No, I just think maybe they wouldn’t go 7-5 in the Big East.
“So they just stopped having him run the ball. In my opinion, he had the Heisman Trophy all wrapped up (after the 5-0 start).
“Then there was something different. All he had to do was keep playing like he was before.
“But, again, there was something different. They never did run the ball as a significant part of the passing game. He certainly could run the ball, but didn’t (very much).”
Wyant, whose 30-4 record as a starter still is WVU’s best percentage-wise, believes Smith is a good runner but said he has no idea why the coaches wouldn’t run him more.
Every time he was out there, the opposing team knew he wasn’t going to run with the ball, according to Wyant. He’s admittedly baffled by that.
“It made it tougher for him to complete passes,” he stated. “I have no idea what they told him, coaching-wise.