West Virginia senior running back Quincy Wilson nearly cried when
the home fans chanted his name in celebration of the
Mountaineers' 28-7 win over No. 3 Virginia Tech on Oct. 22. But
that roar of approval didn't compare with the praise Wilson
received later that night in the quiet of his apartment, where he
watched a tape of the game with his father, Otis, the former
Chicago Bears linebacker (1980-87) who had cheered himself hoarse
in Mountaineer Field hours before. "Boy," said Otis, "I don't
know how I'd try to tackle you."
Future opponents are wondering the same thing. After serving as a
backup behind Avon Cobourne, the Big East's alltime leading
rusher, for two seasons and getting off to a disappointing start
this year as West Virginia dropped four of its first five games,
Wilson has established himself as one of the most dangerous
ballcarriers in the nation. In a 22-20 loss to Miami on Oct. 2,
he ran over one Hurricanes defender and vaulted over another to
put West Virginia up 20-19 with 2:00 left in the game. Against
Virginia Tech, Wilson carried 33 times for 178 yards and a
touchdown. "When the linebackers came at him high, I remembered
going against Earl Campbell as a rookie," says Otis. "It was like
a Ford running over a rooster."
When describing the 5'10", 215-pound Wilson, opponents invariably
point to his strength. Quincy is smaller than his father, who
played at 6'3" and 227, but long ago Quincy absorbed the virtues
of weight training that Otis preaches in the football camps that
he runs. During winter workouts Quincy lifted with interior
linemen, and he was awarded the strength staff's Iron Mountaineer
Award. His compact body enhances his ability to break tackles,
but Wilson also points to the advantages of running in coach Rich
Rodriguez's spread offense. "We force the defense out to the
edges, so players are hitting me from an angle," he says.
Now that he has gained some confidence, Wilson hopes to carry
West Virginia to a bowl. The Mountaineers will need to win three
of their final five to be bowl-eligible. "So, we've blown a few,"
says Wilson. "The Virginia Tech game showed what we've learned."
And how far Otis's kid has come.
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