The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

May 4, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN: Geno Smith compared to Joe Namath

MORGANTOWN — You think of the New York Jets and still, all these years later, you still think of Joe Namath, the quarterback who not only put the Jets on the football map but the entire American Football League, to say nothing of white llama rugs.

Now Geno Smith is going to be the Jets quarterback, so what should you think of?

Joe Namath, what else?

That’s how it was a couple of years ago for Greg Schiano when he was preparing his Rutgers team to face West Virginia University, a rather difficult prep considering he never did beat the Mountaineers while at Rutgers, having a couple of close calls and that first-year disaster that wound up 80-7 in favor of WVU.

“I kept looking at (Smith) and saying who is this kid like?’’ Schiano said to a New Jersey paper after a practice. “He’s not like anybody. Then, I remembered watching as a kid Joe Namath. That’s who he reminds me of.

“He’s lanky, and he has a quick release. He’s not running all over the place. He’s a true, drop-back, big-time passer. If I said that to the kids I don’t think they would know who Joe Namath was. The guy on television.

“But that’s who he reminds me of. He just delivers the ball with such precision, speed, zip and a quick release.”

Smith, of course, grew into a second-round NFL draft choice, and if Schiano is right, he’s looking at a long, successful career in the NFL.

Namath, you see, is a Hall of Fame quarterback.

o o o o o o

Here’s one no one around here really knew before someone asked Stedman Bailey about it following being drafted in the third round by the St. Louis Cardinals, joining fellow Mountaineer receiver Tavon Austin, who was that team’s first round pick.

His name, it seemed, was unusual enough to have one of the St. Louis media ask him about it.

“I was told by my mom that she got it from Oprah Winfrey’s boyfriend. His name is Stedman Graham and I guess she liked it, so that’s what she named me,” Bailey said.

But Graham is really quite a bit more than just Oprah’s boy toy.

He’s an educator, author, businessman and speaker who has been with the talk show host and media mogul since 1986, long enough to have been engaged to her back in November 1992 only to have them decide they would rather have a “spiritual union.”

Bailey’s namesake is CEO of S. Graham & Associates, a Chicago based corporate and education marketing and consulting firm and founder of AAD, formerly Athletes Against Drugs, a non-profit organization that provides services to youth and awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships since it was founded in 1985.

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Bob Herzel
  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Smallwood puts future in jeopardy

    The last thing West Virginia’s struggling football program needed as twilight was setting on Bastille Day in Morgantown was to have one of its own whisked off to the North Central Regional Jail on a fugitive warrant from another state, especially a player who had figured to play a key role in the resurrection of a program gone bad.

    July 16, 2014

  • WVU player arrested in Delaware case

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood has been arrested by university police and is being held at North Central Regional Jail awaiting extradition on a felony warrant out of Delaware.

    July 15, 2014

  • WVU hoping to add two non-conference contests

    West Virginia is nearing the completion of deals to play football games against long-time rival Virginia Tech, now in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference, according to a source close to the negotiations.
    An announcement is expected shortly.

    July 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: MLB All-Star game biggest celebration of top athletes

    You will pardon me if I find something else to do when the Pro Bowl rolls around, or if I try to find a “Three Stooges” marathon when it’s time for the NHL All-Star game. As for the NBA All-Star game, I’d rather watch a replay of a four-year-old Uruguay-Ethiopia World Cup soccer match in which I knew the outcome.
     

    July 14, 2014

  • Howes learns to ‘never settle’ as WVU administrator

    You probably don’t know much about Terri Howes, even though she is a rather high-ranking executive in the West Virginia University athletic department.
    “I like it that way,” she said, sitting in a large office at the Coliseum, decorated with pictures and memorabilia, a jar of candy sitting by the door for visitors to dip into.

    July 13, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Rich Rod’s return not impossible

    As you may guess, in the wake of LeBron James’ decision to let bygones be millions and return to his rooters in Cleveland, more than once was I approached with someone wanting to know if this opened the door for a return to West Virginia University of their once-reviled coach Rich Rodriguez.

    July 13, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Trickett best option as a leader

    In the end, West Virginia University’s decision to place the mantle of starting quarterback upon veteran Clint Trickett was less about quarterback than it was about leadership.
    This is not to say that Trickett lacks the talent to succeed as quarterback in coach Dana Holgorsen’s system.

    July 6, 2014

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