WVU tandem's route comes full circle
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Stedman Bailey broke his ankle the first time he caught a pass from Geno Smith.
It was a corner route, the summer before his junior year in high school after Smith finally lured Bailey to Miramar High from across town in Miami.
"We were practicing, doing one on ones, trying to get it down," Smith said. "That's when our friendship started. I've been taking care of him ever since."
Five years later, they're still connecting as best friends and West Virginia's most productive offensive tandem.
Bailey has 11 touchdown receptions this year and 1,197 receiving yards.
Their history, said inside receivers coach Shannon Dawson, has a lot to do with it.
Smith and Bailey grew up near Sun Life Stadium and began playing together in high school.
"Those guys have an unbelievable rapport," Dawson said. "Their chemistry is great. That has a lot to do with their success. It's all about reps when you get down to it and they've had a lot of reps."
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen had not named a starter on Tuesday to replace safety Terence Garvin (knee injury) and doesn't plan to do so. He said freshmen Shaq Petteway and Wes Tonkery and junior Matt Moro will split time and whoever is performing best will stay in the game longest.
"When you lose Terence Garvin, who was our leading tackler last year and has played a lot of football, you can't just replace him with one guy," said Holgorsen. "All those guys are new guys. ... You plug one guy in, see how it works, and if you need to take him off and calm him down and put somebody else in there, then you need to do that. You never know how it's going to play out."
Temperatures in Miami dropped 15 to 20 degrees Tuesday to a high of 54 degrees, but are expected to rebound to the high 60s by today. The temperature at kickoff is expected to be about 60 degrees.
First Published January 4, 2012 12:00 am