The Times West Virginian

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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: 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

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