If Bailey needed another reason not to get a swelled head, that provided it.
"Yeah, a little bit,'' Bailey said when asked if it still bothers him at all. "It makes you feel like maybe some guys are still sleeping on me a little bit. But I was happy with what I accomplished last year and to me that's all that matters, even if nobody notices.''
Last year prior to the Orange Bowl, Dawson was asked much the same line of questions regarding how to keep Bailey and Austin grounded. He brought up the Syracuse game in which the Mountaineers were hammered 49-23.
"Do you remember that game? I remember it,'' Dawson said. "And I make sure they do, too.''
That Syracuse game, of course, perfectly illustrates why no one can be complacent. Bailey had a fine game, catching seven passes for 130 yards, including a rather spectacular touchdown in which he leaped for the ball, made a defender miss and streaked down the sidelines.
But it wasn't enough.
"And they were as upset as anyone else,'' Dawson said. "So that's good.''
Bailey and Austin spent the winter in the weight room and throwing and catching with Smith at every opportunity. They appear to have picked up right where they left off last season during spring drills, which conclude with Saturday's Gold-Blue game.
They don't seem to have backed off the work ethic part of the game.
"I think we're very coachable guys,'' Bailey said. "We're not big-headed about the things we were able to accomplish last year. We work on every part of our games. It might be blocking or reading different coverages, sight adjustments - anything we can do better we're trying to do it better.''
And if success comes just as easily this season as last?
"I think we're smart enough to bring ourselves back down,'' Bailey said. "We never get big-headed about the things that we do. We just look at it as, 'OK, we did that. Now let's double it.' ''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.