Will’s Scrimmage Observations: Scrimmage #1

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Saturday’s scrimmage gave us our first in-person look at the football team in
a spring that so far has been very limited in coverage opportunities. Our
coverage of the scrimmage continues today with some comments on David Wilson,
Logan Thomas, Vinston Painter, James Gayle, and the new dynamics on the
reconfigured coaching staff.

David Wilson’s Day

For two seasons, David Wilson has been part football player, part object of
curiosity. The polite kid who wears a tie every day, has tree-trunk thighs,
climbed the Cassell arches, and runs really fast — and have you heard the one
about him doing eight back flips at media day? — has gotten a lot of attention
for how different he is. He remains a fan favorite for good reason, but he has
yet to be a player who influences every game of every season.

Wilson escaped a redshirt last season, and the Hokies were much better for
it. He played huge roles in winning close games against NC State and Georgia
Tech with kickoff returns, and his wheel route against Florida State in the ACC
Championship Game was a thing of beauty. But he was still playing third fiddle
to Ryan Williams (when healthy) and Darren Evans, and he hadn’t developed into
an every-down back.

Ready or not, Wilson has to be an every-down back in 2011. He’s going to have
to perform in all kinds of situations: inside, outside, short yardage, long
yardage, carrying the ball, and catching the ball. Is he ready?

He looked ready Saturday. Wilson didn’t get to touch the ball much, with just
15 yards on four carries. That’s all the official reports say.

Wilson’s best carry, however, was a 60-yard near-touchdown that was called
back due to holding. Logan Thomas handed the ball to him on a sweep, and with
strong downfield, second-level blocking, Wilson had plenty of room to run. He
exploded downfield and broke a couple of arm tackles, and only a near-tackle at
the 20 by Detrick Bonner slowed him down. That set Wilson