Quite a number of individuals were surprised by the news that broke Tuesday that New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith had his jaw fractured by the fist of a now-former teammate. Don’t count the Iowa State coaching staff among that group as there’s apparently no loved lost there.
Back in November of 2012, Smith was the quarterback at West Virginia when his Mountaineers traveled to Ames to take on the Cyclones. At halftime, there were apparently some “issues” between Smith and some members of the ISU coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Wally Burnham.
Burnham, still ISU’s coordinator, was asked Wednesday if he was surprised by the locker-room incident involving Smith. “Didn’t surprise me,” the 74-year-old coach succinctly stated. “I was just walking. He [Smith] pushed me.”
Burnham’s son, ISU assistant Shane Burnham, expounded on the history between Smith and the football program. From the Des Moines Register:
“We were holding for the West Virginia team to clear the field,” Shane recalled Wednesday. “There was some extra-curricular activity after the last play of the half — Geno didn’t appreciate something by somebody, and he took out his frustration on dad.”
That didn’t sit well with Shane, who did what every son would do.
“I reacted,” Shane said. “Part of it is that it’s your dad, and part of it is it’s your Iowa State brother. It was family and football family for me. It was a double-whammy.
“He had some choice words for dad, and I might have had a few choice words in return.”
According to Shane Burnham, his “conversation” with Smith continued on the field before the start of the second half. Smith responded with his play as he tossed a 75-yard touchdown “pass” with just over six minutes remaining to give WVU a 31-24 road win and bowl eligibility.