Wilson Competing For Time on the Field

Senior running back Marcus Wilson is entering his fourth season at Notre Dame. The former star out of Poly Prep in Brooklyn, New York has won two monograms with the Irish and is expecting to earn his third this season. Irish Eyes talked with Wilson after a recent practice.

Marcus Wilson did not see action as a freshman and was used sparingly in 2002-2003. With 53 attempts in his career, the senior is hoping to earn more carries this season and is excited about the 2004 season.

"I think it is going really well this year," Wilson said of fall practices. "I'm a lot more confident than any other year I've been in the system.

"This is our third year in this system and my fourth camp and I feel a lot better about putting myself in position to make plays and execute."

For Wilson to see the field, he'll have to earn some carries in a crowded backfield. With incumbent starter Ryan Grant out with and injury, Wilson has a chance to impress the coaching staff to earn some playing time, but he knows Grant will be back soon.

"The goal I have set is just to get out there and be able to play," Wilson said. "The backfield is going to be tight this year. With Ryan back and Travis Thomas, I just need to keep working hard to get on the field."

The elusive running back knows he will have to produce on each snap to earn some playing time and the senior tailback is hoping to impress with the reps he's been receiving.

"The competition with the backs is great," Wilson said. "We are all competitors and work to make each other better. Ryan is the starter and Travis and I are competing hard to back him up. We have all been getting a lot of reps, especially with Ryan out.

"This has given Travis and me a lot more time to work on our execution so when we do get out on the field, we won't lose a beat. I feel very confident that I can get out there and get the job done."

Recently we asked Coach Willingham about this veteran's fall camp and Willingham says he's seen a more consistent Wilson on the field.

"I think Marcus Wilson is more consistent than he has been," Willingham said. "Marcus has always showed us wonderful flashes of ability, but I think this last week or so he has started to show more consistency and we need that. With Ryan down we still need some backs to step up and show us something at that halfback position."

The Staten Island, N.Y. native believes he has made improvement in a couple of areas since last year.

"I'm catching the ball better and making guys miss in the open field, and I'm blocking better because I understand the pass protection scheme much better now," Wilson said. "I know where the blitzes are coming from, where they are going to be, and how our line is sliding."

Without seeing much playing time throughout his career and a number of backs competing for playing time, It would be very easy for a player in Wilson's shoes to get discouraged, but he continues to be optimistic.

"I have been playing football for over ten years and I'm a competitor and a winner," the sociology major said. "Coming off a 5-7 season hurts. As soon as the last game of the season was over, it motivated us to get better. So the motivation has been there all winter, spring, summer, and now to get better for this season and to win every game."

Marcus Wilson would be deemed by many to be a "shadow" player. He comes into a recognized division one school with the hope and dream of being in the spotlight. So far he has ended up in the shadows of players ahead of him on the depth chart. Players like Wilson don't give up and continue to compete and do what they can for the team. Sometimes they do get the chance to be in the spotlight, and we wouldn't be surprised if Wilson performs well when his chance comes.

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