MORGANTOWN- West Virginia University quarterback Geno Smith has singled out junior wide receiver Ryan Nehlen for tall tribute.
"Ryan Nehlen is one of our hardest workers," the second-year starter from Miami, Fla," said enthusiastly. "He's great. He pushes the receiving corps.
"He's one of those leaders out there when it comes to working out this summer. He had a great spring for us. We're expecting big things out of him."
Nehlen, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior from Morgantown's University High, came from an outstanding spring into a starting spot on the preseason camp depth chart.
He had been catching a lot of passes in the summer drills from Smith, 6-foot-3, 214-pound standout, who threw for 2,763 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2010.
"I'm not where I want to be," Smith said. "But I feel I'm getting better. And we still have about six weeks before camp starts (Aug.4)."
He believes he has been working hard and making progress. But he said all of his teammates are, too.
"There are some things I think I can improve on," Smith readily admitted. "And that is my No.1 goal for the summer.
"I want to get better at everything (in his game) - every rep, every snap, every throw, and in decision- making.
Smith said he feels great, health-wise. He no longer has a foot injury or any other nagging problem.
"Everything is going great for us," he said. "Overall, we've been working hard as a team and moving forward."
The workouts include 7-on-7 drills and even some one-on-one sessions. He predicts that it's going to be a great fall camp.
Besides trying to get better, Smith is starting to become a better leader to his teammates.
He remains excited about the offense installed in the spring by Dana Holgorsen, Who became the new head coach in June. He also will retain his role as offensive coordinator.
Smith said his relationship with the 39-year-old mentor hasn't changed.
"He just told us he took over earlier than scheduled, the signal- caller said." We respect that.
"We want to win for him. He's the same cool guy he was when he first got here."