Smith's departure leaves hole on WVU staff

MORGANTOWN - It's not exactly back to square one, but Dana Holgorsen's task in filling out his coaching staff is now doubled.Mike Smith, the New York Jets intern who agreed to join Holgorsen's staff just two weeks ago, has instead decided to return to the Jets, where he will become the full-time outside linebackers coach.The school announced Smith's decision in a short release Thursday.Holgorsen said Thursday there was no mystery or animosity surrounding Smith's departure."He's a good coach,'' Holgorsen said, "and the Jets wanted him.''A handful of reports in New York, however, suggested that Smith's job responsibilities at West Virginia were not going to be what he expected. When Smith and former Oklahoma State assistant coach Joe DeForest were hired in January, Holgorsen said specific job titles would not be announced or even determined until the full staff was in place.Holgorsen needed three defensive replacements after Jeff Casteel, Bill Kirelawich and David Lockwood left to coach at Arizona, and he was still one hire short. And, indeed, the offer sheets that both DeForest and Smith signed were significantly differently. DeForest was hired as a co-defensive coordinator at a salary of $500,000 per year. Smith was hired as an assistant coach and was to be paid $250,000.When Smith took the job at WVU on Jan. 20, reports in New York suggested that he was taking the job to become the linebackers coach and perhaps a co-defensive coordinator. But his offer sheet suggests otherwise.Smith had earlier turned down a chance to join the Washington State staff of new coach Mike Leach as a defensive assistant. He was an unpaid intern with the Jets last season, but the team reportedly offered him a full-time spot to keep him from the Washington State job.
Smith played for Leach at Texas Tech at the same time Holgorsen was on Leach's staff there.Smith's departure leaves WVU with two defensive coaches, DeForest and Steve Dunlap. Dunlap is the only remaining member of the staff who was on hand prior to Holgorsen's arrival and the only one with previous ties to the school.In filling the final two spots on his staff, Holgorsen could hire two new defensive assistants or he could move receivers coach Daron Roberts over to defense and make one of the hires on offense. Roberts' responsibilities as an intern with the Detroit Lions prior to coming to WVU last spring dealt with defense and special teams.Briefly
  • West Virginia's official recruiting class grew by one Thursday morning when 6-3, 225-pound defensive lineman Eric Kinsey sent in his letter of intent.
  • Kinsey, who played at Miami Northwestern, was a Mississippi commitment last fall. He erroneously ended up on the recruits list issued by Florida A&M late Wednesday night. He joins high school teammate Imarjaye Albury at WVU. Albury is one of the five recruits for 2012 who enrolled in January.
  • With Kinsey's signing, WVU's class is at 27 - the five early enrollees and 22 who will arrive in the summer. West Virginia goes into spring practice with 61 players on scholarship (including the five new freshmen), which means Holgorsen still has two spots open under the 85-scholarship limit for next season.
  • Although the school hasn't announced it, one of those two open scholarships appears to have been awarded in an effort to solve last season's punting and kicking problems.
  • Josh Lambert, a senior at Garland (Texas) High School, apparently has been added to the recruiting class. Lambert has the power to kick field goals of 50 yards and can also punt. He was reportedly offered a chance to be an invited walk-on at Texas A&M, but not a full scholarship.On the day that West Virginia officially announced its 2012 signing class, the first member of the 2013 class reportedly committed.Jayme Thompson is a 6-foot-2, 190-pound safety from Central Catholic High School in Toledo, Ohio. He reportedly already had offers from Notre Dame and Nebraska, among others.Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or or follow him at  
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