The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 2, 2012

HERTZEL COLUMN: Trio’s seasons worthy of Heisman shot

MORGANTOWN — If you were to give me time, I could come into your kitchen this morning, sit there over a Sunday breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and hash browns along with a smoking hot cup of coffee and convince you that Geno Smith should win the Heisman Trophy.

Or Tavon Austin.

Or Stedman Bailey.

Now all of them know that none of them will probably win it, maybe shouldn’t even win it considering that despite their heroics they played on an underachieving team, which never plays well with the voters.

The truth is, if one of them were to be among the Final Five at the Heisman ceremony it would probably be an upset.

But, know what, if Smith and Austin — and we're leaving out Bailey in this discussion, mainly because he’s a junior — were to make it there isn’t a soul in America who could strongly opine against such a happening.

Just so you know, Bailey’s credentials are every bit as good as the others, leading the nation in receiving touchdowns with 23 and with 106 catches for 1,501 yards. And he might be as close to never playing a game for West Virginia again as the seniors, because those are numbers that first-round draft choices carry and while he says he has to discuss things with his family, he also adds:

“If the money calls, you gotta go.”

But let us for a moment talk of Smith and Austin, both sure first-round NFL picks and both as solid as anyone from West Virginia ever has been as a Heisman candidate.

We begin with Austin mostly because he is probably the one who has been flying lowest under the radar, which is something of a shame for he is simply the most spectacular player in college football, a mercurial kick returner who catches 110 passes for 1,259 yards and 12 touchdowns, yet when moved to running back late in the season rushed for 344 yards in a single game, third best in the entire NCAA this year.

And he wasn’t running against Snow White and Seven Dwarfs. It was Oklahoma.

O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A. Oklahoma, OK!

You ask his quarterback, Geno Smith, about him, and this is what you get:

“The eyeball doesn’t lie. He can make anyone miss,” Smith said.

You ask his offensive coordinator, Shannon Dawson, about him and the Heisman and he replies:

”He’s the best player in the country. I’ve never been around anyone like him. He plays a lot different than everybody else does.”

That’s like saying Beethoven wrote music different than everyone else did.

“He’s got vision; he’s got speed. Who knows what genetically goes into making a great player, but he has the perfect attitude. He’s never been selfish,” Dawson said.

He wasn’t kidding, either, about that selfish thing.

Ask Austin about him and the Heisman.

“I could see all three of us deserving being in the final five,”Austin said. “In reality, we won’t be there. Even if one of us is there, each of us did good. If none of us were there it would make us feel like we weren’t doing it in front of the country.

“I think my name should be in there, but I don’t really care. In the end, my real dream will come true, and that’s to go to the NFL.”

And the thing is, Smith isn’t mounting a campaign as a Heisman candidate, either.

“I said this back when they had me No. 1 for the Heisman. I said it didn’t mean much to me. The game is all about winning. I wanted to win every game this year. I didn’t want to win the Heisman. I wanted to win the national championship, but that didn’t happen.”

In the end it is Bailey who probably sums up these three West Virginia players and their chances for the Heisman Trophy best.

“From what I understand it has a lot to do with politics and the Heisman is supposed to go to the best player from the best team. As far as the things we accomplished this year you can’t deny that. Tavon should have gotten a whole lot of recognition as far as the Heisman goes,” he said.

The Heisman is going to go in a strange direction this year, maybe to a redshirt freshman quarterback at Texas A&M whose greatest accomplishment is beating Alabama or a defensive player from Notre Dame, who would simply be the second defensive player to win the award.

But if you really want to know who should win the Heisman, it being the most prestigious award in sports, it should go to the player who has given the most memories to his fans and if anyone has come up with memories to top Smith and Austin … well, I have forgotten them.

Of course, I’m 72 years old.

Now, pass the pancakes.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter@bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

  • Moore ‘back at home’ under center

    There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.
    The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.

    April 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads