WVU’s Sills: “Baddest Dude on The Field”
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Listening to David Sills in an interview setting, you’d never peg him for a player who is outspoken or demonstrative on the field. And, in fact, during his first year at West Virginia, as he was still learning the wide receiver position, that competitive fire that fuels him was hidden, or at least tamped down to public view. Even his game-winning touchdown catch against Arizona State in the Cactus Bowl was more joyful shout that primal scream. Thus, it’s been a bit of a revelation to see Sills punctuate touchdown receptions against TCU and Texas Tech with full-throated roars of triumph. It’s always been there, but only now is it coming to the fore.
“I’m not the same kind of guy like I am right now. When you get in the game and emotions are high and you make a play, you get excited about it. All the plays mean something,” Sills said when comparing his soft-spoken demeanor in most aspects of his life to the emotions that are showing more as he continues to torch opposing defenders. “Today after every play I tried to be emotional. I think the whole team feeds off it. When you get in the game something kind of takes over.”
That’s a common trait for many players — soft-spoken or unassuming in most situations, they become tigers when the game is underway. But Sills might take it a step further. Head coach Dana Holgorsen pinpointed that when he noted that Sills “thinks he’s the baddest dude on the field”.
What — what? The receiver that distributes credit like a point guard and deflects personal attention thinks he’s the baddest guy out there?
Yes, and there’s nothing selfish or self-aggrandizing about it. Again, it’s related to that competitive. When Sills made the decision to move from quarterback to wide receiver, it was all-in — just the way that he has always approached the game.
“I go out there every day to try to be great. Why play this sport if you aren’t going to go out and try to be the best you are?” he asked rhetorically. “Coach [Tyron] Carrier in our room has really invested a dog mentality.”
There are also signs of that coming out on the field. Sills won’t initiate jawing with defenders, but if there’s trash talk, he’ll fire back. He also punctuated his final touchdown catch against Texas Tech by tapping his forearm, signifying that he and his teammates “have ice water in our veins”. Again, not something you’d expect, but another indicator of just how hard he is working, and how much it means to him.
“His football intelligence is really good and his work ethic is really good,” Holgorsen said. “His mentality is that he is the baddest dude on the field. [He thinks] ‘They can’t cover me, they can’t guard me.’
Although Holgorsen doesn’t express surprise at how far Sills has progressed, it isn’t an average tale of improvement. Most receivers (or players at any position) toil for years to get the reps necessary to develop they myriad skills required to be good, let alone great. Sills has burned up that path at a rapid rate, and shows many of the footwork and hand techniques of a much more experienced wideout. That he has assimilated those abilities so quickly is worthy of more than casual notice, and Holgorsen does acknowledge that.
“He’s only going to get better and better,” Holgorsen said. “He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around.”
That’s good news for WVU fans, and bad news for opposing corners.