- - Thursday, November 24, 2011

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech junior tailback David Wilson is close to accomplishing many of the goals he set for this season.

He chooses not to dwell on one — no fumbles — that has eluded him.

Wilson has fumbled seven times in 231 carries and lost four. It might have been extreme to expect no fumbles with that kind of workload.

“When I made my list, I thought all my goals were very accomplishable,” said Wilson, who leads the ACC with 1,442 rushing yards. “I expect greatness out of myself. That’s why I made the goal sheet that I did, and some of the goals on there are drastic. But if you look at it, I’m accomplishing over half the goals, so I think that’s good.”

Neither Wilson nor his coaches think he has a fumbling problem. The effort with which he runs makes him more susceptible to turnovers, they say.

He runs with a lot of movement, and he never goes down easily.

“I think he’s a competitor. He’s fighting for extra yardage,” Tech running backs coach Shane Beamer said of Wilson, who has fumbled in each of the past two games. “When you’re fighting for extra yardage and somebody’s got you wrapped up, everybody in football is going to come in there and try to strip it out.”

Wilson says he isn’t doing anything mechanically that’s leading to the fumbles. Most of them come when he’s running into the heart of a defense and pushing for more yards.

“It’s not like I’m holding the ball loose or anything. It’s just they punch it right out. There’s nothing I can do about it,” he said.

No. 24 Virginia will no doubt try to swipe the ball from Wilson’s grasp Saturday in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers rank third in the ACC with nine fumble recoveries.

The last thing Wilson wants to do is to continue talking about his fumbles. Beamer believes it’s better to tread delicately on the subject as well.

He simply works with Wilson and the team’s other running backs on the fundamentals of ball security, such as keeping the ball high and tight, and trusts they’ll do it right in games.

“It’s happened too much for our liking here the last couple of weeks, but we just constantly reinforce the coaching points. I don’t want it in the back of their heads, ‘Don’t fumble, don’t fumble.’ So we’re never going to do that,” Beamer said.

Wilson might have failed to reach his no-fumble goal, but he continues to work toward the rest. He averages 131.1 rushing yards and is on pace to break the school’s and ACC’s single-season rushing record.

The Hokies are happy to watch him continue on his record pace, even if that comes at the expense of a few drops.

“Obviously, you don’t like it,” Tech quarterbacks coach and offensive play-caller Mike O’Cain said of the fumbles, “but you kind of will live with it because of all the good things he brings to the table.”

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