The senior tailback previously played two full seasons with the Blazers in the Gulf South Conference — leading VSU in rushing last year with 516 yards — and has helped round out a solid West Georgia backfield that includes junior Quan Jones, sophomores Seth Hinsley and Lane Thompson and a pair of mobile quarterbacks in junior Austin Trainor and freshman Dallas Dickey.
As a unit, the Wolves rushed for 253 yards in last week’s GSC setback at Delta State, with Bailey leading the way with 111 yards and two touchdowns, while Dickey added 110 yards and a score on the ground.
It marked the first time a pair of UWG players rushed for more than 100 yards in the same game since 2005 when Stan Rowe and Abe Felix accomplished the feat.
Bailey enjoyed his best showing at West Georgia — which plays host to North Alabama tonight at 7:30 as the GSC-TV Live Game of the Week — against the Statesmen and he said he’s tried to make the most of his last season playing collegiate ball.
“It’s just been a blessing. [UWG running backs] coach [Matt] O’Brien has done a good job. He’s just telling us to be patient and me, Seth, Quan and even Lane, we’ve got camaraderie back there. I think Quan and Seth, they did a good job of bringing me in. Coach [O’Brien] just made me feel comfortable. I think we all like playing together. We all like helping out the team,” Bailey said.
O’Brien said Bailey’s value as a seasoned veteran has been huge this fall.
“We’re really young in the backfield, so having David with his years of experience and being an upperclassmen and coming from Valdosta and playing in the league — just knowing the work ethic that you have to have day-in and day-out — it’s really rubbed off on the guys,” O’Brien said.
With 300 rushing yards and a team-best four touchdowns on 59 carries this season, Bailey currently ranks eighth in the GSC in rushing and ninth in all-purpose yards. Bailey is also part of an offense that leads the nation with zero lost fumbles on the season.
“Coach O’Brien is always getting onto us about ball security. Sometimes we get mad at him, but it’s working. He’s always telling us to hold onto the football high and tight and no fumbles. You know, if you fumble, you’re coming out. So it’s a good thing for us,” Bailey said.
Bailey and the UWG offense face a tough test tonight in the Lions (5-2, 2-1 GSC), who come to Carrollton as the No. 1 defense in the league, yielding just 16.1 points per game. UNA is led by linebacker Tavarius Wilson and strong safety Caleb Massey, who rank No. 1 and No. 2 in the GSC in tackles, respectively.
Both the Wolves (2-4, 0-3) and Lions are attempting to bounce back from tough conference setbacks, with the Wolves suffering a 33-24 loss at Delta State this past Saturday, while UNA dropped a 24-21 contest to Valdosta State.
“We’re excited about the challenge. They like to run the ball and we like to run the ball. We joked around a little bit that if it wasn’t a TV game, it’d be about an hour long,” O’Brien said.
And though the Wolves have dropped four straight since their 2-0 start, Bailey said the team isn’t feeling sorry for itself.
“We’re feeling real confident. So far the season hasn’t went how we wanted it to go, but we’re not going to let that get us down. We’re going to play hard and play every game until the end,” Bailey said.
“Our goal is to go 4-0. We’ve got four games left and we start [tonight]. We came up short with Delta State, but we’ve been working hard in the weight room and working hard at practice and we’re going to try to get that win [tonight].”