Longhorns coach jumps on the Geno bandwagon
MORGANTOWN - We may as well get this out of the way right off the bat, right? Everyone else in college football is talking about Geno Smith and the West Virginia offense, so why not Mack Brown?
If it was just Brown, of course, it would be one thing. After all, that's what coaches do. They talk about opponent strengths as if they've never seen anything like it. Brown is doing the same thing as he and his Texas football team prepare for West Virginia.
But Brown isn't alone this week. You can't flip channels between one ESPN platform and the next without seeing gaudy reviews of the WVU offense.
Now it's Brown's turn to figure out how to stop it - his and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz's.
"Well, I've been down there three times and he's got his door closed and he's under the desk,'' Brown said of Diaz. "It's been hard to communicate with the defensive staff so far. I can't find them. They're just sick.''
OK, perhaps that's a bit of an exaggeration. Or a big one. If anything, Texas is probably relishing the opportunity. Who doesn't want a crack at this, especially when it's the new kid on the block?
Come on, show us what you've got.
You're not going to hear much of that this week, though. It's going to be all praise, all awe, all the time.
And this in a Big 12 that has produced more ridiculously productive quarterbacks in recent years than anyone.
"I think as good as our quarterbacks have been [in the Big 12], he's playing as good or better than any quarterback we've ever had,'' Brown said of Smith. "He's just unbelievable. He hasn't made a mistake and there's a tremendous amount of pressure on him with trying to handle all the hype and the Heisman stuff.
"We've been through that here and it's a very difficult thing to do, and he just seems unbothered by it. He plays the same every week, he's got three of the best receivers I've ever seen, they're all really fast, they're all really good and they can run the ball. They've got absolutely no weaknesses. It's just amazing to watch them.''
How about comparisons, Mack? Got any comparisons?
"They're similar in their production to what we were doing in '05 with Vince Young and what USC was doing with the two Heisman Trophy candidates,'' Brown said. "That's the kind of offense they are. They can put up huge numbers easily. And fast.''
Again, Brown isn't the only one singing the praises of Smith and the West Virginia offense. Smith has played four games and been named the national offensive player of the week twice and the Big 12 player of the week twice. Find a Heisman Trophy straw poll - and there are plenty out there - and he's the leader. In four games this season he's got 20 touchdowns and no interceptions. Take it back to the Orange Bowl and he has 26 touchdowns, no interceptions and just two sacks.
So Brown's concerns are real. They are even more real given Texas' issues with tackling so far. And Texas did just give up 606 yards to Oklahoma State Saturday night, a Cowboys team that runs essentially the same offense but with a rookie starting quarterback.
So how do you stop them?
"That's what we're trying to figure out today. I mean, they're just unbelievable,'' Brown said. "Geno's thrown 20 touchdowns and no interceptions. He's probably ahead of the curve that Robert Griffin set last year. He's got to be the leader for the Heisman and he just makes no mistakes. He's very confident, he's very smart, the receivers are unbelievable, they've got two good backs, they've got three seniors and a huge offensive line up front.
"I think they may be as good as any offense we've ever seen.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.