Wilson Knows a Little About Running the Football

CHARLESTON — Bo may know baseball — and football. But, when Mountaineers fans want to know about West Virginia and its stable of talented running backs, Quincy Wilson is a man in the know.

The former Weir and West Virginia University standout was at the Civic Center last week to watch his Mountaineers buddy Jarrod West lead his No. 4 seed Clarksburg Notre Dame team as it took on No. 5 Gilmer County in a first-round showdown at the W.Va. State Boys Basketball Tournament.

The running backs coach for the West Virginia State University, Wilson still keeps a close eye on the Mountaineers, serving as an honorary captain for the 2007 Mississippi State contest while also attending several other home contests including Gold/Blue Spring games in 2008 and 2011.

He is very impressed with the stable of running backs that seventh-year coach Dana Holgorsen and first-year running backs coach Tony Dews will have in action as the team goes through spring drills this month.

“Man, they are loaded at running back,” said Wilson, who was a seventh-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2004 NFL Draft.

“I can’t remember a year when they have had so many guys that can break a game open like they have now.”

Mountaineers fans can when it was Wilson who made the highlight with what has become “The Play” when WVU traveled to Miami to face the No. 2 ranked Hurricanes. A run which witnessed the former Kennedy Award winner not only run over a would-be tackler, but hurdle over another one on his way into the end zone.

These days, Wilson finds himself watching a stable of backs accomplishing some of the feats he did during his time in Morgantown.

“(Martell) Pettaway,” Wilson said when asked about which WVU rusher most reminded him of the way he played. “That kid’s a beast. And, he’s only going to get better.”

Of course the Detroit, Mich., native almost failed to see any action during WVU’s 10-3 campaign as the incoming freshman stood on the sidelines through the Mountaineers’ first 10 games until injuries to Rushel Shell, Justin Crawford and Kennedy McKoy forced Holgorsen and his staff to burn his redshirt at Iowa State.

The move proved to be a good one as the Martin Luther King High School standout ran for 181 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries in a win over the Cyclones and ended up as the team’s fifth leading rusher with 260 yards on 49 carries.

But, even with numbers like those, seeing a lot of action in 2017 will be just as difficult as the Mountaineers return Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Justin Crawford as well as McKoy to a backfield that will also include incoming freshman Tevin Bush.

“I think last year showed fans that you can never have enough running backs,” Dews said. “It is going to be an interesting spring, that’s for sure. We have some very talented kids in our room and they will all be fighting for playing time.”

Of course the one fans will be looking at most will be Crawford.

The junior college transfer led the team with 1,184 yards despite missing several games with a lingering leg injury. The Columbus, Ga., native rushed for more than 300 yards in a nationally televised loss to Oklahoma and for more than 200 yards in a regular season ending win over Baylor.

Numbers that are reminiscent of those posted by Wilson during his senior season in 2003. A third-team Associated Press All-American and a first team All-Big East selection, Wilson rushed for 1,380 yards and 12 TDs and was named the team’s offensive MVP.

“(Crawford) is a little faster that I was,” Wilson said. “He still needs to work on his power, but that’s why they have the Pettaway kid. And, it probably what makes them such a tough team to stop on the ground because each runner they bring in brings different things to the attack.”

Yes, Wilson does know running backs.