Just when Virginia Tech running backs coach Billy Hite thought he'd seen it all from the backs he has coached over the years, along comes freshman David Wilson.
Wilson, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound native of Danville, announced his arrival in Tech's backfield in last Saturday's 52-10 win against Marshall with 12 carries for a team-high 165 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown run. He combined with redshirt freshman Ryan Williams (16 carries for 164 yards and three touchdowns) to become the first Tech running back duo in school history to both eclipse 160 yards in a single game.
That's a solid coming-out party for Wilson, but Hite is often more amazed with what he sees from Wilson in practice — skipping back to the huddle after a play, jumping up and down in the end zone when he's not in a play while making a cut against a phantom defender and throwing an elbow.
"I don't know how many football players in college would skip back to the huddle," Hite said. "It's one thing after another."
The other day, Wilson ran a play and made sure to pay attention to his footwork. Then, after the play was whistled dead, he stopped and perfectly re-traced his steps backwards — as if the play was going in reverse.
"You'd think he's crazy watching him," Hite said. "None of it makes any sense, but he's having a great time. That's what you love about the kid."
No big deal, according to Wilson. He isn't losing it.
"I'm just keeping things light," Wilson said. "I just like to have fun. No matter how important football is in your life, it's still a game, and it's real important to me. I want to have a career in it, but I want to have fun while I play it."
Storylines CODY AND SUH By Saturday night, Tech will have seen two of the best defensive tackles in the country in the first three games – Alabama's Terrence Cody and Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh, both of whom are projected to be high first-round NFL draft picks. Tech offensive line coach Curt Newsome referred to the 354-pound Cody as a "get-up-the-field, get-push guy," while the 300-pound Suh is a "come-off-a-block, make-a-play guy." TAKING IT AWAY The Hokies have had at least 29 takeaways in six of the last nine seasons. This season, they have just three takeaways in the first two games. TOUCHDOWN PRODUCTION All 10 of Tech's touchdowns this season have been scored by freshmen or sophomores. Redshirt freshman Ryan Williams is in an eight-way tie for the national lead in touchdowns scored with five. INJURY UPDATE Though Tech hasn't revealed whether tight end Greg Boone (sprained joint in chest/shoulder area) and cornerback Stephan Virgil (sprained left knee) will be available for Saturday's game against No. 19 Nebraska, they were at least out of blue non-contact jerseys at the end of Tuesday's practice, and were in regular practice jerseys.