Viking Coach Earnest Wilson Looks Forward toward a Winning Season
Viking head coach Earnest Wilson stands near the 30-yard line, looking on as his players and coaches practice plays on the field at Roebuck Stadium. The weather is mild on this day and Wilson acknowledges that it’s been hot and the players appreciate the break in the heat and humidity.
“A lot of people don’t realize how much work goes into football,” says Elizabeth City State University’s new head football coach.
Wilson was brought on board earlier this year from Savannah State University. Since arriving in Elizabeth City, he has been gearing up for the 2016 season, working with his coaching staff and training the young Viking team members.
“My goal is to be 1-and-0 each week,” he says from his office inside the university field house.
In fact, Wilson has three key goals, and he says he wants people to know them:
“Graduate all student athletes; develop young men and women in their programs; win the CIAA and then go on to the playoffs and then to the national championships.”
That last one, the national championships, is a lofty goal, he admits.
“It’s tough but that’s the goal,” says Wilson.
To get there from here, Wilson, his coaching staff and most importantly the players must work hard. Wilson says it’s a matter of team building – this year’s Viking line-up is, he says, fortunate to have played together. And strengthening the players, Wilson says, is essential.
“For us, we’re not there in the summer like some of the other schools, so we’ve got to trust our young men to work out in the summer,” says Wilson.
And Wilson says he and his coaching staff are seeing a great deal of strength gain.
“The guys are in shape,” He says.
But being in shape is only part of a winning equation. Wilson says with a returning offensive and defensive line, the players are familiar with one another and that makes for synergy on the field. Beyond that, learning a new playbook is the key to achieving a winning season.
Wilson says the new playbook is “drastically different” from what the Vikings have worked with in the past. Putting an emphasis on an “air raid” offense, Wilson believes he can build a strong season for ECSU.
The coach points out that the “air raid” offense has been used by successful teams such as West Virginia and Washington State. He learned it from former New Mexico State head coach Hal Mummee.
The idea, he says, is to use a, “multiple check system.”
“Check each play based on what the defense is giving us,” says Wilson.
Wilson says he always predicts a winning season. That is, he emphasizes, the goal. He says if, “we continue to work hard, we can put ourselves in a position to win.”
And while everyone is looking for a Viking victory on the field, off the field his players must be winners, too.
“The thing is to help them develop as young men,” says Wilson.
He says football is not just a game played on the field. Wilson sees football as an opportunity to teach the players about life. Like on the field, there are ups and downs in life, he says.
“Somewhere in life you may be on the goal line and you have to make a decision,” says Wilson.
The Viking season opener is against Norfolk State University, in Norfolk, Virginia. The game happens Saturday, Sept. 3, at 6 p.m.
“These young men are working hard,” says Wilson. “Come out and help cheer our young men onto success.”