“In every season, you always have that one game that everyone circles, either in their mind, or their apartment, or somewhere,” said West Virginia defensive end Will Clark.
“A game like that, you're always gonna think about it, but you have to train yourself to think about Marshall, (James Madison), Maryland and then get into the other games.”
Smith is entering his second year in coach Dana Holgorsen's unique offense. Year One was strong: Smith completed 65 percent of his passes, threw for 4,385 yards and 31 touchdowns and was intercepted just seven times.
Still, Smith wondered aloud at what might have been if his deep passes were more accurate.
“Had I completed more of those, I might have had about 6,000 yards,” Smith said. “I left about 2,000 yards on the field for the fact that I wasn't very accurate on my deep ball.”
Quarterbacks like Graham Harrell (Texas Tech), Case Keenum (Houston) and Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State) have run Holgorsen's system when he was their offensive coordinator, and each year they got better.
“He's progressed and he's got a chance to be pretty good,” Holgorsen said. “He stacks up with a lot of the other guys I've had in the past.”
The coach said he thinks Smith's lessons from Whitfield were more about exposure than anything else.
“I think we coach him pretty good, and I think we develop them pretty good,” Holgorsen said. “I think our track record speaks for itself.
“But from an exposure standpoint, I think it's good for him.
“But he's going to be judged by how many games he wins. Not how quick his feet are this year, how accurate his balls are or how many times he keeps the plays alive.”