MORGANTOWN - After West Virginia had suffered its second consecutive lopsided loss last weekend, there was no shortage of available bodies willing to take the blame.
It started with head coach Dana Holgorsen, quickly spread to defensive coordinator Joe DeForest and flowed almost seamlessly to various other coaches and players.
No one, though, pointed an accusatory finger at himself more than Geno Smith.
He blamed himself for turnovers, for poor decisions in running the offense and for a lack of leadership.
"I have to find a way to help guys make plays,'' West Virginia's senior quarterback said. "I did a poor job of that.''
But while Smith's performance in losses of 49-14 at Texas Tech and 55-14 to Kansas State certainly did not approach the level he'd managed to maintain throughout a 5-0 start, he had plenty of assistance in the team's downfall.
It's one thing to take responsibility, quite another to try to shoulder the entire blame. Holgorsen has apparently let Smith know that.
"Geno and I have talked. He doesn't need to say that,'' Holgorsen said. "He's one of many positions that play football here. If he thinks that all of this falls on his shoulders, then he's sadly mistaken.''
Indeed, however a lot of what West Virginia does falls on Smith's shoulders. The very fact that he was the clear Heisman Trophy front-runner through that 5-0 start illustrates the point.
Not only had he put up huge passing numbers, he was being credited by Holgorsen for making nearly all the right decisions in guiding the team's offense.
As Holgorsen himself pointed out just this week, coaches can only do so much in the way of putting players in position to succeed. Ultimately the players have to make plays and Smith had made just about all of them.