Thundering Herd fans knew two years ago that Hokie running back David Wilson was going to be something special. As a freshman, the Danville, Virginia native scorched The Herd for 165 yards on just 12 carries in a 52-14 route in Blacksburg. It was a big day all around for Virginia Tech as the Hokies exploded for 605 yards of total offense.
| Tech’s David Wilson rushed for 165 yards against Marshall in 2009.
Since then, Wilson has continued to develop into a game changing tailback with blistering speed. In his sophomore campaign, Wilson rushed for 619 yards and five touchdowns. Now he is the featured back in the Hokie offense and provides Virginia Tech with possible touchdown run on every play.
“David Wilson is a great player. He is a world class sprinter. He has world class distance in the triple jump,” explained Marshall Head Coach Doc Holliday.
Saying that Wilson has breakaway speed is almost an understatement. According to Virginia Tech, Wilson has been clocked at 4.29 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Wilson also qualified for the NCAA Nationals with the Hokie track team in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes for the outdoor meet and in the 2000-meter indoor and 60-meter and 200-meter dashes.
Simply put… He’s fast.
If Wilson watched the film from last week’s game against Ohio University he’s likely licking his chops at the prospect of running against the Marshall defense. Marshall’s defense missed dozens of tackles and Bobcat running backs ran through many attempted arm tackles. Try and arm tackle Tech’s David Wilson and he could reach the endzone early and often.
“There are two things we really pride ourselves in. Number one is protecting the football and number two is tackling,” said Holliday. “We didn’t do either one of those against Ohio U. We have to do those two things against Virginia Tech to have a chance.”
Wilson made his presence know in the first two weeks of the season, rushing for 162 yards against Appalachian State and 138 yards against C-USA opponent East Carolina. When it comes to stopping the Virginia Tech offense you have to pick your poison. Arkansas State tried to load up the box with 8 or 9 guys and Hokie quarterback Logan Thomas took advantage.
“They stacked the box and we went to the air,” Hokie running back David Wilson simply explained.
Arkansas State contained Wilson, allowing 88 yards on 21 carries, but quarterback Logan Thomas completed 21 of 33 for 292 yards and two touchdowns.
“If you load the box to stop the run and that quarterback has the ability to beat you with his arm then you have some issues. Same difference if you play a cover two with five under, then they have the opportunity to run the football. You have to mix and match. Disguise coverages. The thing with (Logan) Thomas is that if you load the box for the run, he can easily beat you with his arm. That’s why you have to force teams to become one dimensional. If you can do that you’re in good shape,” said Holliday.
Of course any coach will tell you the best way to keep a good offense and explosive player at bay, is to keep the offense off the field. That means The Herd offense must convert on third down. Marshall was only 2 of 12 on third down conversions against the Bobcats.
“For your offense to be successful, you have to convert on third downs. Defensively you have to get off the field on third down. That is the key to both areas. We have to do well in both categories to be successful,” said Holliday.
Marshall’s offense might be its best defense Saturday afternoon.