With hours to go before the NFL Draft, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen had a strong rebuttal for the questions about Geno Smith’s character and ability. The Mountaineers head coach gave his reaction to an NFL writer’s scouting report on Smith that included the phrase “Nonchalant field presence — does not command respect from teammates and cannot inspire.”

“I was shocked, the farthest thing from the truth” Holgorsen said. “Geno’s a tremendous leader for us. Not only is he a great quarterback, but he’s probably the best leader that we had on our entire team.”

Holgorsen also took issue with the same writer’s claim that Smith is “not a student of the game.”

“From a work ethic standpoint I’ve never been around a guy that’s studied the game as much as he does,” said Holgorsen. “He’s excited about coming to work every day and he’s excited about the preparation that he had to do. And then when you hit the field from a practice perspective, work ethic was never in question. The guy’s a tremendous football player, tremendous leader and he’s going to be a great pro.”

As for the idea that Smith is an ‘overhyped product’ of Holgorsen’s system, the coach said there’s no truth to that either. He pointed out that Smith played under three different systems, from high school to college and excelled in all of them.

“He can run any system we wanted him too,” said Holgorsen. “[He’s] a very, very, very intelligent kid.”

The Mountaineers coach also provided a scouting report on his other potential first round pick, all-purpose star Tavon Austin. Holgorsen said he’s never had a player with his combination of speed and quickness, but the 5’ 8” 174 pound Austin’s best trait might be his is durability.

“He’s probably the toughest kid I’ve ever coached, said Holgorsen. “He’s never missed a practice; he’s never missed a single play in a game.”

What current NFL star does Austin remind the coach of?

“Percy Harvin,” said Holgorsen.


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