WVU’s Sills: ‘I Can Promise That Moving Forward We Will Be Better’
Senior leadership can be displayed in many forms, and West Virginia wide receiver David Sills exhibited many of them during and after the Mountaineers’ loss at Iowa State on Saturday.
During the game, as WVU’s offensive futility mounted, Sills could be seen visiting each position group on the sidelines, offering encouragement and motivation. As the clock wound down with a loss assured, he resumed his rounds, albeit a bit more quietly.
It didn’t stop there. After the game, Sills was blunt in his assessment and shared his message to the team.
“I basically said this one is on the offense,” said the senior from Wilmington, Del. “The defense is playing great football right now. We didn’t help them. We want to complement each other. The offense wants to feed off the defense and the defense wants to feed off the offense. We didn’t give anything for the defense to feed off of, and they still played a great game. They were getting stops for us, and we didn’t capitalize at all. It hurts me saying that, but that’s what happened today.”
Straightforward. Truthful, if painful. Sometimes, those are the words that are required from leaders. The question is, will those words resonate? That’s just the first step – West Virginia must respond with better play if it is to stay in the race for a Big 12 title – but it has to keep everyone on board if that is to happen.
To that end, Sills also waxed a bit philosophically about the entire process, which began shortly after last year’s bowl game.
“Game day isn’t just today; it’s how we start training on Jan. 1,” he said. “We need to reflect on how much time and effort we put in to this. We need to reflect on all the summer workouts and all the work we put in.”
If anyone was thinking of throwing in the towel after one loss, Sills’ words should provide some perspective. “Don’t throw away everything you’ve done so far just because of one loss,” he’s saying. Also, “Don’t undervalue what you’ve done.”
Sills gave credit to Iowa State, which played at a level of excitement equal to the nighttime atmosphere for the game.
“They had a good scheme defensively to what we were doing. We have to execute still. They picked and choose when to bring it and when to back off, and they guessed right most of the time. But that’s somewhere we have to execute better as an offense.”
Again, that’s a mark of leadership, not weakness. Acknowledging that the other team tries, and can execute, and sometimes does it better than you, shows understanding of reality, not a fantasy world where your team always comes out on top. It doesn’t indicate acceptance – far from it. Instead, it can provide the impetus to do better, and that might be Sills’ most definitive statement of all.
“Going forward you will definitely see a change in the offense and how we approach each game,” he said. “I can promise that moving forward we will be better.”