MORGANTOWN - Geno Smith didn't need Dana Holgorsen's rather pointed review of last year's West Virginia-Marshall game tape to know what almost went so terribly wrong for the Mountaineers in Huntington.
Holgorsen said this week that the one thing that stood out to him while watching the video was how much more enthusiastically Marshall's players seemed to approach the game as opposed to the Mountaineers.
Smith knew that as it was happening.
"It was clear to see. If you look at the game, we came out a little bit flat and they made plays early,'' Smith said. "But we fought back and that's really all that matters.''
Indeed, West Virginia finally recovered and won the game 24-21 in overtime. But it took two Smith-led scoring drives of 96 and 98 yards and his 2-point conversion pass to Jock Sanders in the final 81/2 minutes to salvage WVU's 10th win in as many games against the Herd.
While there seems little chance of a repeat of those doldrums when No. 24 West Virginia plays host to Marshall Sunday at Mountaineer Field - there was a lesson to be learned there, right? - Smith is taking no chances.
West Virginia's junior quarterback has taken personal charge of enthusiasm and preparedness.
"That's 100 percent a part of my job, to make sure guys come out and we're prepared and we're ready and we're focused,'' Smith said. "My job is always to be the facilitator and make sure guys are doing what they're supposed to do. That's something I take pride in and it's something I'm going to do better at this year.''
In truth, he did a pretty good job last year, even in that Marshall game.
As the fourth quarter began and West Virginia trailed 21-6, the Mountaineers began a series on their own 24-yard line. A holding penalty, two fumbles and a sack later, WVU was punting from its own 4.
When Smith got to the sideline he slammed his helmet to the ground and screamed at anyone and everyone within earshot.
He swears now it wasn't because of a lack of effort, but because he simply hates to lose. In reality, it was probably a bit of both.