MORGANTOWN - Geno Smith's broken foot was supposed to fracture spring football for West Virginia.
With Smith somewhat sidelined and unable to take part in offense versus defense drills, the system was put in the hands of backup Coley White, who is regarded more for his feet.
And when the summer came around, White was to go to receiver and incoming freshmen Jeremy Johnson and Parade Magazine All-American Barry Brunetti would battle for the backup spot.
A funny thing happened in the first two weeks of spring football, though.
"Coley's been really good," offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jeff Mullen said, "and it's been really good for him."
The first few days were not great for White. He tucked the ball and ran a lot, often too soon for Mullen and Coach Bill Stewart's liking. Many throws were inaccurate. Some sailed. Some bounced. Some were dangerously behind receivers, others recklessly ahead.
Beginning with the April 10 scrimmage, though, the younger brother of former WVU great Pat White began to settle and then surge. His sound decisions and sharp throws far outnumbered the bad ones.
Some of that is strength, which is natural when a player becomes accustomed to the weight room and what it does to his body and his mechanics. Some of it is growth, and White has convinced himself he's the quarterback this spring - even if he may be a receiver next season.
"He's competed and I'm pleased with how he's responded," Stewart said. "He knows the offense now. Some of these other guys have got to know the offense.
"A coach can't be on the field with 60-some thousand people yelling, 'Run the post. Run the hitch.' They've got to learn. They've got to take it upon themselves to learn what they have to know. Coley's done that. I'm very pleased with that."
Mullen's WVU offenses have always installed the triple option early on, and the Mountaineers have been running a healthy amount with White - sometimes by his own design, sometimes by the call's design and sometimes with two tailbacks to maximize speed in the backfield.
Now, there's an obvious explanation for that.
"If Coley were our quarterback, we'd be an option football team almost the whole game," Mullen said.
Smith is the pocket passer and he ran only 17 times in his five games last season. He totaled 7 yards. His longest gain was a 13-yard scramble against Marshall.
The Mountaineers aren't worried about building an option offense around him, and Smith has been active throwing in spring practice. He handles all the throws in skeleton drills - the offense runs routes against no defense or no pass rush - as he gets comfortable reading and recognizing coverages.
Smith has done nothing to discourage the coaches from giving him the job over the summer.