“I feel very humble,” Wilson said. “Very good already to get it started.”
The ‘very good’ part relates to Wilson’s state of health, And it is very good news since he gimped through much of spring practice and on the one preseason day open to observation went down with another minor ailment. So that was one obvious game-week question.
So was the other, about his self-assurance heading into a second Mississippi State season and doing it as a projected starting wide receiver. Oh, and lest any worry: humility does not translate as timidity. This is just how Wilson keeps perspective on the bigger Bulldog picture.
“That comes with it, mentally and physically. But my main thing like I said was just be humble and wait on that moment.”
Or moments, since the football is sure to come Wilson’s way whenever practical this Saturday and this sophomore season. He might have only started once as a true freshman (Alabama), but by the end of the 2013 campaign this tall target was also a top target. Wilson came away from the two bowl games with seven total catches and 82 yards, and who can ever forget his tough fourth-quarter grabs in the comeback over Ole Miss?
Certainly not a coaching staff that is counting on Wilson to set an even stronger sophomore pace. This is where not so much the big games but getting on-field in all 13 contests has primed him for year-two.
“Man, it’s helped a lot with experience. Last year I was a freshman and didn’t really know what to expect. Now since I had that experience from last year I’m ready.”
Wilson’s potential was obvious enough that after a month on campus he found himself playing on opening day 2013. “In a NFL stadium!” he reminds, which had the butterflies flitting even faster than usual for a rookie. Then, “The first route I ran I caught the ball and all the jitters kind of got out then. I got that experience and know what to expect now.” Including how to handle the energies and emotions that come with this second opening day.
”It’s time to put on the pads, dress-up, and go. It’s crazy, my first year was a great experience and now I just know what expect and how to get the job done,” Wilson said.
There is one potential distraction of sorts for Wilson. The Birmingham native knows some Southern Mississippi personnel by name, some by face, and one well. Wideout JaMichael Willis also hails from Birmingham and the two played youth football. So there is that added competition, even some bragging rights reports Wilson.
“I heard jokes about that all summer about how we’re coming to the stadium and going to take everything! But in my eyes I just use that as motivation.
Mississippi State ought have plenty motivation to use the passing portion of this year’s playbook. All seven of the leading primary-position receivers from 2013 are back, and since the Bulldogs have consistently practiced a four-wides set with the tight end slotted the challenge is getting everyone involved. This is why Wilson hasn’t taken his top-team status for granted in preseason, alongside Jameon Lewis and Robert Johnson.
“It’s just a lot I can’t explain right now about us three. But the main thing is we work hard, we push the other guys to work harder than us and it makes us more dedicated to what we do out on the field.” For that matter, the throwers and catchers feel urgency to meet their quota of the game production and free up a tantalizing set of running backs to make their own plays.
“Because we’re an offense capable of doing a lot of stuff. It’s just listening to Coach and getting the job done.”
While the players go about their practice jobs, construction teams are racing the calendar to have as much of renovated-and-expanded Davis Wade Stadium ready as possible for the first game. Not everything can get finished but Sunday showed that more than enough is completed so as not to inconvenience a fan base eager to celebrate the first success of 2014.
It all makes for a thrilling time to be a Bulldog, Wilson agreed. Just don’t let the thrills chill the serious side of opening week.
“I mean we have to be excited, it’s the first game in a new stadium. But the main thing is (Coach) wants us to be humble and go out there and handle business.”