Holgorsen: Smith Can't Bear Burden in Losses - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Holgorsen: Smith Can't Bear Burden in Losses

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MORGANTOWN -

Dana Holgorsen reiterated Tuesday that he and the rest of the West Virginia football team are not playing the blame game.

There is plenty to be spread around, but right now it is enough that it would be counterproductive to do so.

"Nobody is pointing fingers anywhere. Nobody is doing that," Holgorsen said. "We all have to understand, as coaches, that we need to put them in a position to be successful and what their technique needs to be."

Geno Smith, however, said after the loss to Kansas State that he was pointing a finger, and it was directed at himself.

Smith's leadership has been a big part of West Virginia's mentality and success in the past two seasons and if his own confidence is dropping, it will be difficult to get the Mountaineers refocused and back on track.

The quarterback is facing his first real individual adversity of the season, though, and how he bounces back through the bye and into the Texas Christian game will go a long way in determining how the remainder of the regular season plays out for the Mountaineers.

In the two losses, Smith has completed just 57 percent of his passes for 418 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He has looked pedestrian at the position and after he could do no wrong earlier in the season, the struggles come off as a surprise.

Smith has always been the one to focus on what he can do to improve, even in wins. Now, he points a finger at himself as the reason why the team has gone 0-2 since what seemed like a defining moment in Austin, but his head coach doesn't want to hear any of that.

"Geno and I have talked. He doesn't need to say that," Holgorsen said of the self-blame. "He is one of many positions that play football here. If he thinks that all of this falls on his shoulder, then he is sadly mistaken. He is one of our leaders, and he is a tremendous football player."

A tremendous football player who has fallen on hard times and fallen out of many national discussions for both individual and team awards. Smith would never talk about the Heisman in the same breath as a championship – he may not speak of it at all unless he's pressed by media – but when he was doing his job to the level that had him in that discussion, the Mountaineers were benefiting.

"He cares more than anybody. He is responsible for a lot of points and a lot of wins," said Holgorsen. "For him to be at his best, he needs to understand that the only thing he can do is take the snap and go where we want him to go with the ball. If that is all he worries about, then he is going to be more productive. He needs to relax a bit and not bear that burden. We are going to get him back on track."

Holgorsen points to a number of factors that could lead to getting his quarterback and his offense back on track, but each is something he has become aware of through losses.

There is a loss of confidence that has permeated from the defense through the rest of the team in recent weeks and it must be returned if the season will turn around. That starts with the leaders in the locker room, Smith being perhaps the most important of them all.

An October that began so promisingly will close with a far bleaker outlook. Smith, Holgorsen and the rest of the Mountaineers still have five games remaining to right what has gone wrong, but they will have to do it together.

No finger pointing, just focus on fixing the many facets of the game that have fallen apart the past two Saturdays.

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