CORTLAND – At any moment, quarterbacks coach David Lee can strike.
Sometimes his quizzes are administered orally. Other times in written form.
But there’s one constant to Lee’s test-taking format, said Geno Smith.
“Oh no,” the rookie said with a big smile, when asked if there’s a set time for the quarterback tests. “He’s completely random with it."
At any time, on any day, Lee can seek out one of his quarterbacks for an impromptu quizzing. But while the coach's unpredictable approach could potentially rattle some QBs, Smith says he likes being kept on his toes.
“If he did it at a certain time every day, you could come in at 4:45 – knowing you’ve got a test at 4:50 – and just cram it,” he said. “But he does it randomly so you better be studying. And he knows if you know it.”
With a starting quarterback job up for grabs this summer, the coaching staff needed to make sure Smith, in particular, was retaining all of the information being thrown at him.
And to the relief of offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Smith has had little trouble keeping up.
“Outstanding,” Mornhinweg said of the rookie’s recall. “…And that’s quite a challenge. Even for the experienced guys.
“…There’s too much at stake, there’s great responsibility at all positions, so certainly we use the testing method every day.”
Still, there are moments when the right answer escapes Smith.
“There’s always situations where you says: ‘I think it’s this, but I’ve got to go back and study,’” he said. “It’s kind of like going to school and you get the pop quiz – (sometimes) it’s not really fresh in your memory or you’re not really sure.
“But the good thing about the test is that it prepares us for what we do out on the field. So if we do get something wrong, we go back, study and we come back on the field and we know it. And that’s something that I like. It’s the only way for Coach Lee) to know you to really know it. And I’ve been doing well. There’s always times where you can do better, but I think I’ve done well.”