March 25, 2007

This apple fell near a Mountaineer tree

MORGANTOWN--Growing up in upper highlands Franklin in the heart of Pendleton County, WVU quarterbacks coach Rod Smith always called his Dad "Coach."

Not only was it endearing, but it was the truth. Gary Smith coached Rod Smith in everything involving a ball until the younger went on to play football for a guy named Rodriguez. In large part, Gary Smith is still the coach.

Smith, the former Glenville State Pioneer All-Conference thrower and former offensive magician under Jim Leavitt at South Florida, fits into the Rod pond like a duck. He was a Rod GA. He formulated much of what he did spread-wise at the Bulls' stop from what Rod did with the Pioneers. He will be the buy on the headset this fall on the WVU sideline.

But from an internal view, he remains his Dad's son and coaches like the man who made Franklin football, still dabbles at the school and coaches the girl's softball team at Pendleton County.

"He was pure in his emotions. He drove us. When you did a good job, he'd tell you. He would jump you, but he didn't do it all the time. If he did, you'd know. He wasn't laid back, but he wasn't a screamer. He did a good job of teaching fundamentals. Until you understand what the whole (coaching) ordeal is you don't understand; as you get older, you how it is, how it works. It was a tremendous experience," Smith said Wednesday afternoon.

You would think Smith Jr. would bring Senior's attitude to the Mountaineers, who may be the only team in ball with three former or current starting quarterbacks on their roster.

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