Earlier in the preseason, we took a look at 2015 Jeff Wilson to try and be excited at 2016 Jeff Wilson.
Boy has he delivered or what?
Wilson is sitting at 724 yards on 108 carries, and 12 rushing touchdowns. This includes a combined 50 yards against Florida and MTSU. In North Texas’ 4 wins, Wilson has averaged 8 yards per carry, 147 yards a game, and totaled 10 touchdowns. It’s critical to feed Wilson.
Now that over half the season is done, let’s take a quick look at some of his highlights against Army – the second ranked run defense in the nation. We focus on plays that exemplify his success on the ground so far this season, and what we should look for the rest of the way.
GIF It, GIF It Real Good
In this first clip, North Texas is lined up in a pistol formation. Cannon Maki (I think) is lined up as the blocking H-back. At first glance, this play seems to be a run option for Fine, which freezes the DE and a DT for a moment, allowing the left tackle to block them both. Army’s linebackers are pretty damn good, but they oversold on the right side of the offensive line. North Texas’ O-Line directs the defense to the right and easily punches through, creating a big hole for Wilson. Wilson accelerates through the hole, as the front seven are all immediately out of position.
While the offensive line has done their job, it’s time for Wilson to do his. As Wilson heads upfield, he forces the DB to over-pursue. Wilson then shows his run-bending ability and footwork – without losing momentum.
He does bobble the football when he gets tackled later, so he needs to work on that.
What follows is a thing of beauty – that begins with an awkward handoff. North Texas is again in a pistol formation, and again we will assume that Maki lined up as the H-back. Wilson does a good job of following his blockers. The left tackle, Woodworth, disrupts DE’s path. The left guard, Henson seals LB#39 to the outside. Wilson fakes to the outside behind Henson, manipulating the DB to take the outside edge, and continues up field.
Maki gets a great block on LB#11, following the hole. Willie Robinson bravely comes in and seals an inside edge against DB#9 (good job, good effort Willie). At this point, the remaining defenders are out of position, and Wilson uses his elite acceleration to out run the 21 other players, the umpire, the line judge, the ball boy, etc.
The next play can be described by the following words: Vision, athleticism, acceleration, fluidity, and calf cramp.
I’ll just let you enjoy it while imagining me yelling “GOT EM!” every time he cuts.
Jeffrey Wilson is, and should continue to be the focal point of the offense.
While this is an Air Raid-based offense, Wilson’s talent and explosiveness should make things easier for Mason Fine and the receivers. If Wilson forces opposing defenses to key in on the run, Littrell and Harrell have pass plays designed to take advantage of these types of matchups.