The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 3, 2012

HERTZEL COLUMN-WVU’s Bailey contemplates entering draft

MORGANTOWN — This corner of the newspaper world was supposed to be filled with good news today, a renewal of the Backyard Brawl in New York City’s Pinstripe Bowl, but that fell through when Syracuse accepted a bid to play there.

The bowl game, of course, wraps up this disappointing season, which probably should be considered good news if it weren’t for the fact that you have to look ahead to life in the future in the West Virginia football program, and that doesn’t look particularly promising.

Nobody on any level loses players like quarterback Geno Smith and slot receiver Tavon Austin and replaces them with the same level of player, for they are once-in-a-lifetime players. At least, though, you could plan for their departure, for you know they have to leave when their eligibility is complete.

Equally as big a loss next year to the offense that carried WVU to whatever it accomplished this year will be Stedman Bailey, a junior who probably is the nation’s best pure wide receiver.

True, he has a year left, but in reality, short of some personal records, he really has no reason to return next year ... the quarterback that he grew up with and has played with since childhood being gone, Austin also being gone to take the attention of defenders away from him, and even J.D. Woods exiting with his ability to make key catches.

Bailey is a certain first-round pick in the NFL, should he declare for the draft, and there isn’t a man alive this side of Andrew Luck who would turn down a sure thing like that and gamble on playing another year of college football.

Bailey all but said he was exiting in the aftermath of the ridiculously easy 59-10 victory over Kansas on Saturday in the regular season finale.

“If the money calls, you gotta go,” he said.

At the same time he says that, he maintains he’s not 100 percent certain.

“I have to talk to my family and see how that works out,” he said.

Hard to imagine that conversation.

STEDMAN: Mom, I’m thinking of passing up about $11 million to go back to school, get my degree and play with a new quarterback and new offensive line another year.

STEDMAN’S MOM: Are you out of your mind, son?

Bailey said he was spending his spare time looking at some of the national records he had a shot of breaking, some he said were in reach.

Certainly anyone who can catch 106 passes for 1,501 yards and a national league 23 touchdowns would believe he could do such things, but you know what, it won’t be Geno Smith throwing to him and, more important, he won’t be paid to do it.

Still, he isn’t saying definitively that he’s gone.

“It’s something I have to think further about. I’m not sure what my future is now,” he said.

Even Geno Smith backs off when it comes to offering advice to Bailey.

“Let him decide,” the quarterback said. “He’s his own man. He’s a big boy now. He can do his own thing.”

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Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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

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