Wilson On Pace to be One of OSU's Best
By Patrick Murphy
Coming in to the 2013 season the most talked about topic – more than a national title run, or Braxton Miller’s development, or issues on the defense – was about the incoming freshman Dontre Wilson.
Photo by Dan Harker
The kid from DeSoto, Texas had made the switch from Oregon to Ohio State during his recruitment and the hype was unmatched.
The coaches raved about him. The players couldn’t stop talking about him. The media had to write about him. Wilson had yet to step on the field and he was already building a legacy.
So far in his very young Ohio State career, he has not disappointed. As Tony Gerdeman point out, Wilson’s 435 all-purpose yards are just under four times better than Ted Ginn’s over the first five games of their freshmen seasons.
Wilson is a weapon and has been used in a variety of ways already this season.
The freshman has carried the ball 15 times, is averaging 9.5 yards per carry, and has a touchdown this year. He has 11 receptions for 105 yards – also a 9.5 yards average – and has 188 kick return yards.
On his first touch of the ball, he nearly took it to the house, but was barley tripped up after 18 yards. On his first kick return, he brought the ball back 51 yards.
Photo by Dan Harker
"Ab-so-lute-ly! Definitely! He's a special kid,” was Miller’s response when asked about getting him the ball before the first game.
Wilson has done as well as expected to start his first collegiate season, but could he be used more?
On Saturday against Wisconsin, Ohio State showed more of the playbook than they had in the first four games.
One of the looks they gave featured both Carlos Hyde and Dontre Wilson in the backfield. On the last drive of the first quarter, Miller faked to Hyde and hit Wilson wide open on the sideline on a wheel route.
The Buckeyes ran out of a similar formation in the second half and Wilson was again open, but Miller went another way.
For the night, Wilson only had two carries for 21 yards and the one reception, but it was his first night game and the coaches didn’t want to risk a big mistake, especially after his early fumble that rolled out of bounds..
"One thing about Dontre that you saw on film coming from high school was the speed factor and him playing in space,” said running backs coach Stan Drayton. “The ability to make people miss, the ability to explode and create explosive long-yardage plays.
To utilize his skills to the fullest, the coaching staff wants to create the best possible matchups for Wilson. This means attempting to have one of the opposition’s slower players covering him.
If Wilson runs his route – wheel or otherwise – from the backfield, it generally means he is going to be covered by a linebacker and that is just not fair.
Teams will attempt to counter this by having a safety cover him when he lines up next to Miller. If they commit a safety to Wilson, this opens up the downfield pass to one of the other receivers and still may not result in Wilson being covered.
The object is to get the ball to Wilson when he is on the field. There will be times when he is used as a decoy, but the coaching staff won’t put him out there without a reason.
However they best figure out to get him the ball – and Meyer knows a thing or two about effective playmakers – he will always be dangerous, but if they can create these mismatches continuously, Wilson could be downright scary.
Corey “Philly” Brown believes Dontre is on his way.
“Dontre’s going to be a ridiculous player here at Ohio State,” he said.
"Obviously he has a lot of stuff to clean up and that’s why he doesn’t play as much as he should, but I feel like as he matures, he can potentially be one of the best players to ever play here.”