Add Geno Smith's former college teammates and coaches to the mix of naysayers of the Jets' rookie quarterback. But just like with the anonymous sources that talked about him in the offseason, there's a catch.
West Virginia personnel didn't exactly use Smith's name in their comments, and it's unclear if they were pushed to set the record straight. But a press conference last week had Dana Holgorsen talking about how they needed to develop leaders, with players echoing his sentiments, and running back Andrew Buie admitting the squad fell apart last year due to the lack of leadership.
The follow-up questions on that inherently fall on Smith, who was clearly the leader of that team last year from any outsider's view. Take a minute to read those quotes.
“Last year we didn’t have, you know, a lot of leadership,” running back Dustin Garrison said.
“I feel like last year, we fell apart,” running back Andrew Buie said. “At certain moments where we needed to be a team, we weren’t a team. So that was a big thing that [Holgorsen] preached all offseason: Team. Team. Team. I honestly feel like as a whole team offensively, defensively and with special teams, we’re more of a unit as a team. More together.”
“What’s different this year is we’re more a team,” offensive lineman Quinton Spain said. “There ain’t no I’s; we don’t depend on nobody. We just depend on all of us at once as a team. So I think this year will be better than last year.
“There wasn’t no team. I could say there was a team early, but once we started losing we saw the I’s come up, so it just hurt the team worse.”
“I just feel like across the board there’s no one person on the team who stands out more than any other,” defensive tackle Will Clarke said. “There’s not one person who’s getting a lot more media coverage or this much attention from certain national attention than the rest of us. We’re all pretty much on the same level. We’re all using that to try to just work together.”
Smith is in camp with the Jets, likely to start his rookie season as Mark Sanchez's backup quarterback. Smith sprained his ankle in Friday night's preseason game against the Lions, but practiced on Sunday despite the injury.