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Commentary: When Mr. Smith comes to Austin, Texas must pressure him

By Cedric Golden, Austin American Statesman Published: October 4, 2012

West Virginia is college football's best run-and-gun attack, capable of scoring 28 in a quarter without blinking. So does defense really matter if you've scored 69 or more in three of your last five games? For his part, Smith isn't worried about the national perception of his team.

“I could care not less about what people say about our performance,” he said. “We let the media and critics do their job. Our performance speaks for itself and our product speaks for itself. Look at my stats over the last three years.”

They're great stats, indeed: 8,876 passing yards, 75 touchdown passes, only 14 picks. The stat that sticks out? After being sacked 54 times in 2010 and 2011, Smith has been clean as new money in 2012, having been sacked only three times in 169 attempts.

Word of advice to Longhorns defensive coordinator Manny Diaz: You saw what Smith did to that Baylor defense that decided to rush three and drop eight into coverage. Shred City. It's time for defensive ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor to live up to that All-America hype we gave them in the preseason. It's also time to see if Duane Akina has some NFL defensive backs in that secondary.

“I was watching film all week, and I noticed a lot of time that (Smith) was getting to his third read,” said safety Kenny Vaccaro. “He was just sitting back there and no one was coming. You have to put pressure on guys that can sling the ball like that or else they will pick you apart.” Mack Brown said he won't use the same approach with Smith that he took with RG3, who ambushed the Horns with a 59-yard touchdown pass 22 seconds into the game en route to 320-yards day last season.

“I told them to keep the Heisman from (Griffin), and they handed it to him at halftime,” Brown said. “I don't think we're in a position to try and stop Geno Smith. We have to play better defense because he's going to make his plays.”

Here's what we do know: Smith is coming to Austin with a world of confidence and one huge chip on his shoulder.

The Horns need to make sure he leaves with some dirt on his back.

MCT Information Services

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