MORGANTOWN - If you're Stedman Bailey or Tavon Austin, it's difficult not to get caught up in your own hype.
If you're Shannon Dawson, it's your job not to allow that.
Neither can be easy. After all, Bailey and Austin just finished the most productive season by a pair of West Virginia receivers in school history.
Austin shattered the mark for catches in a season by a staggering two dozen. Bailey broke the mark for receiving yards in becoming only the third 1,000-yard pass catcher the school has ever produced. Then Austin made it four.
And if you want perspective, try this: David Saunders had nine 100-yard receiving games in his career. He had at least one in each of four different seasons, 1995 through 1998. That's the school record.
It's two more than Bailey had in an eight-week span of 2011.
Now, throw in the preseason Heisman Trophy talk that surrounds not just quarterback Geno Smith but Austin as well, after his 12-catch, four-touchdown explosion in that 70-33 rout of Clemson in the Orange Bowl, and you have all the makings of pair of big-headed superstars.
By all accounts, though, neither approaches that potentially messy place. And if ever they are inclined to, well, Dawson is right there to bring them back down to earth.
"I've always been the type of person who felt there was always room for improvement,'' Bailey said. "And if I ever forget it, [Dawson's] always there to sit us down and let us know there's a lot more that we can do.''
Indeed, Dawson has done that a few times. It's not because he necessarily saw anything about to happen. He didn't get the feeling that his prized pass catchers were getting big-headed or full of themselves, but he does like to keep them grounded, just in case.
"Sometimes you have to look for the little things,'' West Virginia's receivers coach and newly minted offensive coordinator said. "Both those guys are hard workers. Most of our receivers are. But you can always get better.''
Well, if there's another level beyond what Bailey and Austin accomplished last season, it's sure going to be fun watching that. A year ago as a sophomore, Bailey went five straight games without dipping below 100 yards receiving. He caught the single biggest pass of the season, the diving 26-yarder to set up the winning field goal at South Florida and put the Mountaineers in the Orange Bowl.
Then he was named to the All-Big East second team.
Really? Seventy-two catches for 1,279 yards and 12 touchdowns and he's on the second team?