"We've been good," Smith said. "We had some good practices in Morgantown and we made sure it carried over to here. We made sure we got some good work in. We're not taking any days off. We're working extremely hard, especially on timing because we know it's extremely important."
The bright spot for WVU is Smith and receivers Bailey and McCartney have been working on their timing since high school. Familiarity might breed contempt, but it also might help the Mountaineers against Clemson.
"It's got to help," Dawson said. "But you also have those five linemen and the other guys that have a lot to do with it too. Can't always drop back and throw to Stedman."
Point taken. But it's something to keep an eye on.
"We started playing football together in the 11th grade," Bailey of his relationship with Smith. "Thinking back to when we met in the eighth grade, we probably tossed the football around, not knowing we'd be playing together. The 11th grade, though, is when we got serious."
This season, Smith hooked up with Bailey for 1,197 serious yards, an average of 99.8 per game, and McCartney for 572, a 47.7 average.
"It does help," said the Mountaineer quarterback. "I've been throwing to Stedman and Ivan [McCartney] for so many years - even Tavon [Austin] for four years. It helps the timing that we're so familiar with each other."
How close is Smith and Bailey?
"He's like my brother," Smith said. "His mother is my mother. My mother is his mother. We spend a lot of time together. He's my roommate. Someone I've been hanging with since middle school."
That's familiarity. Which should help Wednesday. Of course, there are other concerns.
"The back end [of Clemson's defense] looks pretty good," Bailey said. "Their defense as a whole looks pretty good and it starts up front. Their D-line is pretty athletic and does a good job getting pressure on the quarterback. Their DBs look pretty good, but I think we can beat 'em in certain situations. We have the game plan in. We just have to go out and execute."
He suggested rusty timing shouldn't be a problem.
"Not really," Bailey said. "This game is so important to us. We're home ... Hopefully, we won't run into the problem of timing. We've been working all week and doing a good of getting that stuff down. Hopefully we'll be OK in that area."
With a little help from the 199th Street rec center.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.