Whether you're looking at physical skills, type of quarterback or frame of reference for the season, Robert Griffin III and Geno Smith are so far from alike it is staggering.
The comparison isn't fair to either guy, and as the season goes forward, here's to hoping that people steer clear of drawing this up.
Well, unless you're making the lazy comparison that they are both black. I guess that one works, right?
As far as on-the-field skills go, Griffin III was a souped-up Colt McCoy. A guy that wanted to throw first and would hit his favorite targets for big gains down the field. A guy who could take off running and execute designed run plays, and most importantly, wanted that to be a part of the game.
Both quarterbacks were among their teams' leaders in rushing. Getting loose on the edge and making defenses pay was what they did, in addition to throwing it all over the yard.
That's not Geno Smith.
As he enters his fourth season, the quarterback has a grand total of 256 yards rushing. That number includes his robust -32 total from a season ago. Running is not what Smith wants to do. He wants to throw the football. Even in 2010, when Smith gained 210 yards on the ground, his reluctance to run was a very clear reality.
He's not a runner; let's not pretend that he is.
However, perhaps there are folks who don't mean a literal comparison. They mean a more abstract idea of Smith, rising up to steal the Heisman from Matt Barkley, as Baylor's quarterback did from Andrew Luck a year ago.
Griffin III was a 20-1, 11th-place preseason pick to win the Heisman. That's relatively off the radar. Especially when that player plays for the team picked to finish sixth in the conference preseason and is left off the preseason all-conference team.
For Smith, he enters the 2012 season as a guy on the team picked to finish second in the Big 12, and he is the preseason favorite to be the all-conference quarterback. The kid was also a top-five pick to win the Heisman entering the season, as College Football Talk reported:
Final Bovada preseason Heisman odds: M. Barkley 3/1; M. Ball 6/1; D. Robinson (15/2; L. Jones 7 G. Smith 8/1; A. Mur -> bit.ly/U6hqad— CollegeFootballTalk (@CFTalk) August 27, 2012
Smith is ahead of Knile Davis, Marcus Lattimore, Tyler Wilson, De'Anthony Thomas and a slew of other folks around the nation. He's not a dark horse—he's a front-runner for the award.
Geno Smith is not RGIII. Not at all.
The kid is a lot more Sam Bradford, a guy who just wants to sling it around the yard, than he is a dual threat or quarterback who doesn't mind getting out of the gate. He's not even an off-the-radar guy like Griffin III.
Smith is a heck of a football player who is poised to have a tremendous year, and that's all he has to be for the West Virginia Mountaineers.