Seniors, Bailey Take the Field One Last Time for WVU - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Seniors, Bailey Take the Field One Last Time for WVU


The snow falling on Yankee Stadium, West Virginia's 21 seniors will step onto the field for one final chance to play alongside their teammates and for the state's flagship university.

Junior Stedman Bailey will join his old high school quarterback Geno Smith in their last game with the Mountaineers.

When Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin and J.D. Woods leave the field, they will take with them 82 percent of the production that West Virginia's offense put up through the air this season.

Of the Mountaineers' 4,091 receiving yards, those top three accounted for 3,356 of them. The other 10 receivers combined for less than half of the yards that Bailey alone posted in his final year in the old gold and blue.

This isn't to say that they others are incapable of stepping up when called upon so much as it is to say that they haven't been called upon, so trying to predict what the staff will get out of these unproven commodities is near impossible.

Woods, having spent every practice with many of those who will be counted on to step up, says he has seen their potential. He specifically points to K.J. Myers, Jordan Thompson, Dante Campbell, Devonte Mathis and Devonte Robinson as those who have stood out.

"It's college football. There's going to be changes every year," says Woods. "You've got to bring it each and every year, so I know Coach Holgorsen and Coach Dawson and everybody else on the staff will find that guy that they need."

Holgorsen will be replacing more than just production, though. Smith, Bailey and Austin have been the faces of the program the past two seasons and have represented the university well in the public eye.

The hope is that they will continue to do so after they have moved on from Mountaineer football.

"They're great players and they're going to play for a long time. I think everybody understands that," says Holgorsen.

Holgorsen is aware of what these seniors have gone through in their careers with a head coaching change, numerous new position coaches and a switch from the Big East to the Big 12. Through it all, they handled the process and maintained focus on their roles as a part of the whole.

"They just kept moving forward and kept playing football and kept practicing and they kept lining up and they kept trying to give their best everyday, so those guys mean a lot to me and we had a big dinner with them last night and we're going to obviously try to send them out with a win," says Holgorsen.

Getting that win would be the last act they perform with the WVU football team. They know that the old saying is you're only as good as your last game, and after this one, there are no more.

"We've got one last game, one last change to prove ourselves and we've got a tough opponent," says Smith. "So that's really all of the motivation that you need. The season has come and gone and we really can't do anything about it now, but we do have something to look forward to, which is Saturday."

Bailey, who will go out with members of the class he came in with despite being a year younger on the field, isn't trying to look ahead to the end of his Mountaineer career just yet.

"I try not to think about it a lot because it's a sad feeling for me, knowing that in a couple of months, my whole life is about to change," says Bailey. "I won't be here with all of the guys that I built such a great relationship with and this is actually my last game suiting up in the gold and blue, so it's a very bittersweet feeling, but I just try not to think about it much. I would definitely want us to go out with a win, I want a good performance, so that's what I'm looking to do."

After Saturday, it's all over.

Austin says he tries not to think about the end of his four years with West Virginia, but there have been moments over the past month that have made it hard to avoid.

"It did hit me when I was moving my clothes and stuff out of my house the other day and I turned around and looked at the apartment because I won't be back anymore," says Austin. "It'll probably hit me when the clock hits zero-zero-zero and I know I won't play with my boys anymore."

It will hit WVU pretty hard, too.

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