When the 2012 season started, there was much Army fanfare surrounding many of the pre-season college football nominations. As slotback Raymond Maples and quarterback Trent Steelman found their names on the Doak Walker and Davey O'Brien watch-lists respectively.
Then you had sophomore center, Ryan Powis, who made the preseason Remington Trophy list that is awarded to the nation's top center.
The bad news and unfortunately for Powis, his season has been marred by injuries, most notably his non-hiking hand, that saw the talented center miss the first game 2012 season, as well as MIA against Army last two contests.
The good news is that there is a guy name Will Wilson on the Black Knights' roster. The 6-foot-2, 275 pounder, who for the most part can play almost any position on the offensive line and do so effectively, is "always" ready when called upon.
Just by the nature of the game, offensive linemen rarely get notoriety, and even less if you aren't starting. However, in Wilson's case, most diehard Army fans know name, Will Wilson.
He is No. 66 and whenever called upon to step in, does so without the nation's leading rushing attack for the past two years missing a beat.
So if slotback Malcolm Brown is Mr. Dependable, then surely Wilson is Mr. Always Ready.
"No matter what my role, I prepare like I've always prepared for a football game," acknowledges Wilson. "I don't really change what I do, weather I'm starting or if I'm back up. I've been lucky enough that I've gotten to play in some pretty big games and I'm always ready to play and I hate being on the sidelines ... waiting for my number to be called."
And play and his offensive teammates were against BC, as they put up an amazing 527 yards on the ground, along with a surprising 79 yards in through the air. But like Army fans, Wilson can recount those final 29 yards that sealed the win for the Black Knights, although it initially appeared that the team had missed their opportunity when Maples was stopped short of the goal line on the previous series.
"For about a second there, I think our hearts dropped and it was kind of a long run off to the sidelines," says Wilson, as he recalls his reaction to the Black Knights' inability to punch it in. "But I will honestly say that for me that once I got to the sideline I looked up at the clock and I thought we're going to get another chance. Our defense was playing great, I knew they were going to stop them and all the seniors on the sidelines were trying to get everyone ready .... saying hey guys, we're going to go back out there and it's not over yet."
And of course, Wilson was right relative to his faith in the defense, who put a choke hold on BC's offense and forced 3 & out.
Honestly, I can't remember what people were saying in the huddle, because I was just so excited to get back out there and we were having another shot. I am sure someone was saying something and I know Trent (Steelman) something to the guys, but I was in the zone at that time.
So with the ball on the Boston College 29 yard line and :52 remaining in the game, Wilson provided his account of what took place.
"Oh yeah, I really do recall what happen," he said. "I remember we looked over at the sideline and Trent gave us the call we were originally looking at .... and we had a pass called. We were in a different formation, but what Trent saw .... he saw that the option was going to be open. So being in a different formation, he actually had to run over to Malcolm Brown who was on the wing and tell him real quick how to block it. Then he went up and down the line to audible it to us (offensive line). I'm kind of thinking in my head, shouldn't we be passing here. But I trust completely in everything that Trent does, so he called the play and it was perfect."
"I went to block the nose guard and blocking him I got knocked down. When I scrambled up and looked up, I saw Trent running and at that point I knew he was going to score. I don't remember hearing the crowd or anything, I just remember seeing Trent running and I ran as fast as I could over to him."
For the senior offensive lineman, he was quick to point out that this was probably the biggest win of his 4 year career at Army. "I played the whole Northwestern game last year, so I can definitely compare it to that," declares Wilson. "Both games, we won on the offense's last drive and in both games, it was really the defense that won those games. They played great and we couldn't ask for anything better. I mean they kept saving us. I have to say that this one might be a little bit better just because it's Boston College, senior year and how we won it .... everyone thought the game was over."
Size in the Trenches
At 275 pounds, Wilson is one of the bigger offensive linemen for Army and each week he and his partners up front must go head up with interior defensive linemen that on average are tipping the scales at 300 plus. However, as the weight differential may viewed as an advantage to the defense, Wilson offered up this response.
"I will say it ... I've been feeling it the past couple of days," says Wilson, as he chuckles at what his body endured from the BC game. "Yes they are a lot bigger but we're a lot faster. We don't block our offensive line where we just try to move them back 5 yards. We're trying to get our angles on people and keep low. Our movement is different than how other offensive linemen do it."
"I definitely sense the frustration of the defensive linemen, but me and the guys were saying that we never him them talking about that. One is because we always in the no-huddle offense trying to go as quick as we can."
From coaches to players, the Boston College win was exciting and critical, but everyone within the program, including Wilson will tell you that they have since turned the page and Kent State is their focus this week.
"We celebrated our win Saturday, but on Sunday we're up at the stadium with our meetings, lifts and treatment," Wilson confirms. "We do real well as a team moving on and we felt as team what it is like to win, so we don't want to say that was a great win (BC), but we are saying ... let's do it again, because that was fun. We can't wait for Saturday to come."
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