The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

November 22, 2011

Bailey has sights on record, Pitt

MORGANTOWN — Every night for the past week has been the same for Stedman Bailey. Sleep doesn’t come easily, not at first anyway, for he is thinking about, envisioning one moment, a moment he hopes is early in Friday night’s Backyard Brawl.

Geno Smith will drop to pass, he’ll see Bailey open, hit him with the pass and it will be over.

Stedman Bailey will hold the single-season record for receiving yards at West Virginia, breaking David Saunders’ 15-year-old record of 1,043 yards.

“Seven yards,” said Bailey, knowing exactly what he needs. “I think about it every night. I set back and just smile, thinking about my name going into the record books.”

It is an awesome thought for a receiver who wasn’t considered a major recruiting coup coming out of high school.

It wasn’t that he wasn’t a productive receiver, it was just that he wasn’t the big, rangy type of game-breaking receiver you normally see breaking records. Chris Henry, the only other man in WVU history to catch passes for 1,000 yards other than Saunders and Bailey, was taller, rangier and faster.

“You don’t have to be big to make plays,” Bailey would say. “It’s what’s in your heart.”

That is a term he uses often when discussing his goals, his dreams, his abilities. He believes in this idea of inner strength, of something from within driving you through sports, through life.

He played at Miramar High with Geno Smith, a major benefit here at West Virginia, for the two of them are forever on the same page, having spent years playing pitch and catch with Bailey.

“To see what he’s been through, to see him prospering and finally getting the recognition he deserves is important. In my eyes he’s the best receiver in the country,” Smith said.

Bailey knows he wasn’t considered at the top of the receiving crop coming out of high school, not carrying the five-star rating others had. He believes that was for the better.

“The critics do drive me,” he said.

There really are no limits on where Bailey will wind up as a receiver. While he isn’t a blazer, he has speed and he is intelligent and hard-working, understanding what defenders are trying to do so that he’s able to take advantage.

He has 1,000 yards with two games left beyond the Pitt game, South Florida and a bowl game. How high can he take the record this year?

“I’m averaging 100 yards a game,” he noted. “That would be 1,200 or 1,300 if I hit my average, but I may go for 200 in one of those games. In this offense there is no limit.”

And with the attitude he carries there also is no limit.

“Football is my first love,” he said. “I’ve played since I was 9 years old. I’ve always been able to make plays. I just love the game so much I can’t picture life without football.”

Football has given him a chance to build a great life.

“There’s not a lot of people who have the opportunity I have,” Bailey said.

That includes going after a college degree and, perhaps, a career in the National Football League.

But first there’s a matter of beating Pitt this week, a huge game for WVU as the Mountaineers still have a chance to earn a BCS bid if they can win out and get Louisville to drop a game.

Email Bob Hertzel at Follow on Twitter @bhertzel.

Text Only
WVU Sports
  • 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

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 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

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    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

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    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

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos