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
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • 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

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