MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —
“I’m not going to sit here and point fingers at anyone else,” Smith said. “I’m the leader of this team, the leader of the offense, and as an offense we didn’t do enough. Those guys score points, so what? We’ve got to go out there and match it, and that’s our job. And as an offense you can’t be worry about what’s going on with the defense.”
That will be up to West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen and defensive coordinator Joe DeForest. They will use a bye week to see what repairs can be made to a defense that has yet to improve in any phase.
Holgorsen and DeForest insist there’s nothing wrong with the way the 3-4 defense is drawn up. They just want execution and overall effort. In the least, they would like a leader to emerge from an inexperienced group.
“It’s hard, because you want someone to step up, grab the team and say ‘Come on, follow me,”’ DeForest said. “But we don’t have that on defense. And until we do, we’ll struggle. It’s up to us as coaches to try to find leaders, but it’s up to the kids to be leaders. You can’t always lead as a coach; you’ve got to have someone from within to pull them with you. It’s part of it.”
West Virginia will need to win the rest of its games, starting with TCU at home on Nov. 3, to keep alive any hope of a BCS bowl bid.
And after one of West Virginia’s worst home losses in school history, attention about the Heisman Trophy shifted from Smith and toward Klein. That race still has a lot of playing out to do, but Klein’s leadership is turning more heads.
“He played a great game,” Smith said. “Hats off to that guy and their team.”