Lack of Attention to Sills Shows Depth of WVU Receiving Corps
David Sills leads the country in receiving touchdowns, but defenses can’t afford to show him extra attention.
It doesn’t seem to matter much to West Virginia’s opponents that David Sills V leads the nation in receiving touchdowns. But that’s just fine, WVU receivers coach Tyron Carrier said ahead of a Top 25 showdown with Oklahoma State.
“Do you know what’s crazy? I don’t think people notice it, but Gary (Jennings Jr.), Ka’Raun (White) and Marcus (Simms) take a lot off of him,” Carrier said of Sills’ success. “He’s not the main focus of a defense. It’s just so funny to me saying he scored all of these touchdowns and if you talk to a defensive coordinator or a DB coach, they will say ‘Yeah, we were more concerned with slowing down two or slowing down 12.’
“OK. Good. Good to know,” Carrier added. “Everybody compliments each other very well. They have to pick their poison with who they want to slow down.”
Sills quickly bonded with quarterback Will Grier and the combo has hooked up 46 times for 737 yards and a nation-best 15 touchdowns this season. It started with a simple text, something like, ‘Hey, let’s throw,’ Sills said, and the end result has been a deadly duo that has West Virginia’s offense thriving so far this season.
Still, it’s an odd thing that defenses seem to keep single coverage on Sills on the outside near the goal line or allow their defenses to shift more toward slowing down Jennings or White across the middle or Simms over the top.
West Virginia, on paper, didn’t exactly have a superstar on the roster at receiver coming into the 2017 season, but that’s seemed to be the best part of this receiving group for Grier. Defenses can’t seem to key in on just one guy, because Grier spreads the love and is becoming more and more confident in his guys.
Yet Sills has found himself the biggest benefactor, maybe perhaps because he was supposed to be more green at the position than the more established receivers or because he might be seen as less of a deep threat or less athletic than a speedy Simms or less of a jump-ball guy like White.
What defenses can’t account for, West Virginia coaches and players say, is Sills’ work ethic and desire to be the best player on the field.
“I’ve said it before and the thing I love is all the hard work that he’s put into it is translating out there to the field. He’s a kid that he has the success on Saturday’s, but he’s the first one in the facility on Sunday getting rehab, watching the tape, wanting to know the mistakes that he had, and how he can improve on that,” offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said recently. “Throughout the course of the week, he’s constantly doing extra and working at his craft. It’s amazing what that kid has done halfway through the season – 12 touchdowns receptions – and he hasn’t really been playing much receiver, he’s still figuring out the position. There’s nothing but great improvement ahead for this kid. It’s going to be fun to see how he finishes the season off.”
Beyond Sills’ success, Jennings leads the team with 56 catches for 702 yards and one score while White has hauled in 35 passes for 494 yards and six scores of his own.
“I don’t think we are at our peak yet. Some of us have some good games here and there,” White said. “As a whole, he wants to see all of us play and do well against a good, ranked team like this weekend coming up, so hopefully this game is it.”
Defenses will get tougher and tougher to pick apart as the season rolls on with games against teams like Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas coming up on the schedule, but, rest assured, Sills, Grier and the rest of the West Virginia passing game feels plenty confident going forward.
“One day at a time, one day at a time. One of the things that the conditioning guys really do a great job at is all the recovering things they have. As far as keeping their legs under them, I think we do a great job with that,” Carrier said. “Just getting more in tune with what we do and how we do it is the biggest thing. The receivers and the quarterback are getting on a really good page together. They can give each other a look and they can make those plays, different play calls. Those guys are picking it up more than anything.”