Smiley making noise as Industrial's quarterback
Oct. 14, 2011 at 5:14 a.m.
VANDERBILT - For senior quarterback Jake Smiley, there was no learning curve.
The converted running back was asked to play quarterback first time in his life for a new coach behind a young offensive line.
So far, so good.
"There's not much to it," he said. "Coaches call good plays and everything we're doing is working for us right now."
Smiley has completed over 60 percent of his passes for 650 yards and six touchdowns while helping the Cobras to a 4-2 record which includes a 1-1 district mark.
He filled the void left by Austin Smalley when he graduated after the 2010 season. It's a tough act to follow, but like his predecessor, Smiley has the ability to make plays with his feet.
"He's done a good job," said Industrial coach Shane Lothman. "He's just a good athlete and that's one of the reasons we put him in there."
But the Cobras are on pace to easily bypass their numbers through the air from last season.
Smalley had 977 yards and 14 touchdowns in 13 games to help Industrial make it to the regional playoff round.
Smiley has 650 yards and six passing scores through six games this season. He's on pace to throw for more yards than Smalley did by the end of the regular season.
Lothman took over for Doug Kuhlmann who resigned in April to take a job with San Angelo Lake View.
Under Kuhlmann, the Cobras used the wishbone to run over opponents, and Lothman said that their run game this season has allowed more opportunities through the air.
"We're throwing it a little bit more, but we're still basically thing the same things that we did in the past," Lothman said. "Running the football opens up the throwing part of it."
As a Class 2A, Division I team, Industrial does not have the option to participate in spring football.
Instead the Cobras used a run to the state's 7-on-7 tournament in College Station to build chemistry and get some work done during the offseason.
"It helped us a lot to develop a good relationship with receivers and passing," Smiley said. "It helped us quite a bit and we played good teams."
Of all the things Smiley had to learn during his transition from running back to quarterback, taking command of the huddle wasn't one of them.
Smiley established his place among the senior class well before the start of the 2011 season.
"He's kind of always been the leader of that class," Lothman said. "I think the kids look up to him so that part came easier."
The Cobras come off a bye and hit the road to take on Jackson county and District 14-2A, Division I rival Edna on Friday.
A year ago Industrial won a double-overtime thriller 17-14.
That loss had long-term effects on the Cowboys. They lost two of their last three games and went from being ranked to missing the playoffs entirely.
"It's a big rivalry no matter what," Smiley said. "I'm sure after last year they're going to come gunning for us."