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Geno Smith combats rough draft critique

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith got a call from his old quarterbacks coach, Jake Spavital, who couldn't help but laugh at what one media scout had to say about Smith.

From our news story:

Pro Football Weekly draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki delivered a scathing assessment of Smith's skills this week, writing that the West Virginia quarterback is "not a student of the game," "does not command respect from teammates and cannot inspire," is "not committed or focused" and "cannot handle hard coaching."

"A cross between Akili Smith and Aaron Brooks, Smith is a gimmick, overhyped product of the system lacking the football savvy, work habits and focus to cement a starting job and could drain energy from a QB room. Will be overdrafted and struggle to produce against NFL defensive complexities," Nawrocki also wrote.

Smith went on the offensive this week, telling USA Today that the report was "untrue in all things," and Spavital says he can "start in the NFL from day one."

Smith's not a perfect quarterback, but he was the Big 12's best passer a year ago and certainly has the potential to grow into a fantastic NFL quarterback. As for the rest of the criticisms, plenty of them rang as untrue. I only spent a year covering Smith, but every coach I talked to about Smith raved about his work ethic and practice habits. You hear tons of stories about Smith holing up to watch tape of games at all hours of the night and setting an example for teammates, so if you're going to criticize Smith, that's not the place to do it.

His performances in difficult weather like the wind in Lubbock or the snow in the Pinstripe Bowl weren't strong, but he still finished the season with 42 touchdowns to just six interceptions. Were his numbers inflated a bit considering the strength of his receiving corps? Maybe a bit, but there's no doubt that he was the Big 12's best passer last season, and Spavital went on the record to call his former quarterback (who spent plenty of time in the QB room with him) a "dream come true for a coach."

I'm taking Spavital's word on this one.