"The best I've ever seen at that was Case Keenum. He had eyes in the back of his head,'' Holgorsen said of the former Houston quarterback, who played under Holgorsen early in his career. "Geno's not getting caught with the ball. He hasn't been sacked, he's gotten out of probably five or six situations that were potential sacks and he's extending plays. Sometimes he extends it by dumping to the backs or somebody in the flat, but if there's nobody there he's doing a good job of tucking the ball, having good ball security and getting up field to get us the first down.''
There are, though, two things to consider when watching Smith become more of a running threat and using his 6-foot-3, 225-pound size to escape trouble. First, he's never going to be a running quarterback.
"If we wanted to we could do some things that would give him the label of being a running quarterback,'' Holgorsen said. "That's just not what our offense is. We're not going to work on zone reads and stuff like that.
"He could be considered a running quarterback if we wanted to tag him, but our offense isn't going to let you put that tag on him.''
The second thing to consider is that things will only get more difficult from here. It begins with Saturday's noon home game with Maryland and then goes into nine straight games against Big 12 competition. Both passing and running, Smith's numbers - right now he has as many touchdowns (nine) as incompletions - will certainly dip a bit.
"I haven't personally been around a guy who's had those kinds of stats the first two games of the year, but it's obviously going to get harder,'' Holgorsen said. "We're going up against Maryland and I think they're the eighth-ranked defense in the country (227.3 yards allowed per game). It's going to get tougher this week. Athletically, it's going to get tougher.
"If he can continue to play like that against better competition - it's obviously going to get harder and harder in the Big 12 - then yeah, it's something special.''
There is, of course, another thing that will define Smith's season. Right now the Mountaineers are 2-0 and ranked No. 8 in the country. How long the win total and the ranking continue to climb is the bottom line.
"I've said it for a long, long time, it's not surprising me that Geno's putting these stats up. He's a very motivated and competitive kid and he's been doing it in practice for the last month,'' Holgorsen said. "But ultimately it's going to be how we finish, how many games we win, which is what he's going to be remembered for.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.