When Buffalo Bills fans discuss West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, his record against Bills head coach Doug Marrone and his former Syracuse Orange squad (0-3) is frequently brought up as a potential reason that the team could pass on the near-consensus No. 1 quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft.
If we're allowing that into evidence, then we should also allow this article from last September - as Bill Belichick-esque as it may be in terms of heaping lavish praise upon an upcoming opponent - when Marrone discussed USC quarterback Matt Barkley a week prior to a USC/Syracuse showdown.
"I was one of a couple people that was hoping he'd go on to the NFL," Marrone said six days before USC crushed Syracuse, 42-29. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I'm happy he's back."
The CBSSports.com article linked above notes that at the time, Marrone praised Barkley not just for his well-established intangibles, but for his pocket presence and patience running the offense.
"If he doesn't like what's going on when they (take away) the deep vertical threats, he can come right back to the backs," Marrone said. "That's one of the things you see with the top guys in the NFL."
In that 42-29 win last year, Barkley threw for six touchdowns. He was 2-0 in two career games against the Orange, completing 71 percent (49-of-69) of his passes for 511 yards with 11 touchdowns and just one interception. (Ryan Nassib in those two games, if you're wondering: 55-of-83, 552 yards, three touchdowns -plus another one running - and two interceptions.)
Barkley's pro day workout is tomorrow, when he'll throw in front of NFL talent evaluators for the first time in the pre-draft process. If his day goes as well as expected, you can bet you'll see his name projected to the Bills with the No. 8 pick much more frequently than it already is over the next 30 days.