First Appearance

There aren't many freshmen that get to have their college debut in a big game. They are often put in -- kind of like place holders -- when their team has gotten a big lead to give them some experience.

But that wasn't the case for freshman quarterback Geno Smith, who made his college debut in something of a pressure situation in West Virginia's road game at Auburn.

Starting quarterback Jarrett Brown struggled through the Auburn game. Shortly after he threw his forth interception of the night, he injured his shoulder, which led to Smith's insertion into the contest. There wasn't much time to make the call, as Brown suffered the injury on a sack, but the decision wasn't a difficult one

"When Jarrett went down, it was kind of like a scramble," admitted Smith. "We always prepare for those situations and that's why we practice. I was ready for the situation."

Smith had a solid first showing, as he went 5 of 8 passing and 50 yards. There was a low point when Smith threw for an interception while being hit. It was the Mountaineers' fifth pick of the night, and erased any faint hopes of a comeback. However, with all of the pressure on him during his first appearance, and with the Mountaineers already trailing substantially, Smith was pleased with his effort.

"It was a great experience for me," said Smith. "It was a tough game on the road against an SEC opponent. I got in at a crucial situation and I feel like I did pretty well under the circumstances."

Just like many freshmen, Smith learned from his first showing, and will be making adjustments in response to those lessons learned. However, he credits the Mountaineers' practices for helping to preparing him for the fast paced game.

"Actually, I felt like I over anticipated things kind of," said Smith. "The guys are pretty big but it's not too much different [than in high school.] "I learned that you pretty much just have to execute the same way as you do in practice," he continued. "The things that we go over and the preparation we do is pretty much right on. The coaches do a great job with the script and with the play calling so it's pretty much based on executing."

Smith took charge of the Mountaineers against Auburn for WVU's last two drives of the game. After his first set of plays on the field, offensive coordinator Coach Jeff Mullen had some kind words for the freshman.

"He kind of joked around with me," said Smith. "My first play, I kind of tripped and fell but he told me that I did pretty well."

Although he wasn't in the game long, the experience helped Smith to realize that he may be called upon more than he first imagined.

"It let me know that I am always just a play away," said Smith. "I have to always get every mental rep that I can so that when the time does come I am ready."

Brown is expected to be ready to go for Colorado on Thursday, but Smith will be ready whether it is as a starter or a backup.

"I'm just preparing myself as always," said Smith. "Whatever happens, happens."


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