"That's kind of the way I've been my whole life. Everything I've done I just wanted to make sure I was always getting better,'' Nassib said, "I ask myself that every day: Did I get better? Did the decisions I made make me a better football player and a better man?''
More often than not the answer is yes. He's taken offseasons seriously, and practices just as seriously as games.
"And it's not just me. The guys I've been with here over the years have done the same thing,'' Nassib said. "If you work hard and the guys around you work hard and want to get better it usually happens.''
Every once in a while, though, wouldn't it be nice to play not in Syracuse's balanced offense but in a throw-it-around-the-lot scheme like Smith does?
"It's the system and the offense,'' Nassib said. "I'm a quarterback. Sure, I wish I could throw the ball every play. But I also understand that in our system there's a balance that's needed. It may be different in different offenses, but in ours we've always tried to maintain a good balance.''
Truth be told, Syracuse has opened up its offense this season. Nassib is playing in a faster attack with better receivers and more chances to throw the football. He averaged 37 passes per game, not far off Smith's 41. He owns every single-season and career passing record in Syracuse history, save for career touchdown passes.
"Ryan's done a great job of just getting better every year, especially this year when we changed the offense and put a lot of it in his hands,'' Syracuse offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said.
It has put Nassib on the radar of NFL general managers, one of whom will select the 6-foot-3, 227-pounder. First, though, he has that non-showdown with Smith and West Virginia's high-powered offense.
"We've been in high-scoring games and as long as offense stays consistent and tries to play as mistake-free as possible we can score points,'' Nassib said.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.