“We have to develop leaders,” Holgorsen said of this year’s team. “It was a big issue on last year’s team, in a bad way.
“We have lessons we can take from last year and use this year. There were examples of it throughout last year with a variety of people.”
Upon hearing the quote, it was widely assumed that the third-year head coach’s comments were aimed mostly at his starting quarterback in 2012, Geno Smith.
Current players on the WVU roster who were on last year’s team agreed with Holgorsen’s comments about a lack of leadership, but no one was ever implicated specifically.
“I feel like last year, we fell apart,” said running back Andrew Buie. “At certain moments where we needed to be a team, we weren’t a team.”
The New York Jets rookie signal caller who is currently in the middle of one of the most heated quarterback battles in the NFL was defended by New York head coach Rex Ryan Monday when asked if the reports made him think twice about Smith’s ability to handle adversity
“No, but it tells me I’m glad my kid never went there,” Ryan said. “I don’t get that.”
Buie was one of the first to refute those reports, stating that Smith was not the source of the Mountaineers’ leadership problems during their 7-6 season in 2012.
“When the moment always came up, as far as I know, he was the guy who always stepped up to the challenge. He never shied away from a challenge,” Buie said. “I didn’t see anything wrong with him as a player.
“He tried to lead us every Saturday.”
And even though West Virginia wasn’t able to live up to the lofty expectations that it had in the preseason and in the first few weeks of the season, the junior running back didn’t think that reflected solely on Smith. He said that outsiders taking comments out of context have blown those comments out to be much more than they were meant to be.
“Unfortunately for us, we came out on the losing end sometimes, which made Geno look like he wasn’t doing his part. That was clearly never the case,” Buie said.
“If you’re not in this building, and you’re not one of the ones putting in the work with us, I don’t care what you think because your opinion doesn’t really matter … Not trying to be rude or anything, but we all put in the work with each other day in and day out. I wouldn’t talk about a teammate like that, especially Geno.”