New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.
Geno Smith's former West Virginia teammates blame lack of leadership for '12 struggles
CORTLAND – Geno Smith’s current teammates have raved about his pocket presence and his poise under pressure. They’ve also taken note of how the Jets rookie quarterback has handled himself in the media and in the huddle.
But it seems Smith’s former college teammates share a different perspective.
Though current West Virginia players didn’t name Smith – or Rams rookies Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey – by name, members of the Mountaineers said lack of leadership was to blame for their 7-6 season in 2012.
“What's different this year is we're more a team,” junior offensive lineman Quinton Spain said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “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.”
West Virginia’s third-year coach Dana Holgorsen acknowledged the issue corrupting his team last week, telling reporters: “We have to develop leaders. It was a big issue on last year's team — in a bad way.”
And his players agreed.
"There's more depth, and you can really trust more people right now," sophomore wideout K.J. Myers said. "You know how there was the focal point of those athletes from last year — of course, the big names — but we have more weapons now.”
Added senior defensive tackle Will Clarke: “Everyone was playing for the team, but everyone wasn't fully there. All the guys on the team weren't there — but now we have more of a team-emphasized basis.”