Wilson looking to improve

Published 3:30 pm Saturday, August 9, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — It may just be a scrimmage, but it’s another opportunity for C.J. Wilson to improve.
Wilson, and the rest of the East Carolina Pirates, will take the field today at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for the first of three scrimmages leading up to the Aug. 30 season-opener against Virginia Tech. The Pirates will also scrimmage Aug. 16 and Aug. 22.
Though he’s already entrenched as a starter at defensive end, the 6-4, 280-pound junior relishes each snap when he’s on the field.
Wilson, a former standout at Northside High School who led the Pirates with seven quarterback sacks a year ago, was mostly pleased with his play in 2007. He finished with 36 total tackles.
This year, Wilson is setting some lofty goals.
The scrimmages are part of a long stretch of training camp days for the Pirates. Wilson knows what to expect, but that doesn’t make things much easier.
Wilson isn’t just a player out there. He also considers himself somewhat of a coach.
When Wilson takes the field, he’ll weigh more than he ever has in his career. Coming out of Northside, Wilson weighed 214 pounds. He’s added 66 pounds of mostly muscle to his bulky frame.
Wilson will also take the field as a member of the Conference USA First Team Preseason All-Conference team. After earning All C-USA Second Team honors last year, coming one year after being voted to the C-USA All-Freshmen Team, does that put pressure on Wilson to live up to the accolades?
Wilson, who enjoys playing the piano and watching movies when he’s not busy with school or football, likes the direction the Pirates are headed in, coming off an 8-5 season and a victory in the Hawaii Bowl. With the team winning, the Pirates are gaining more exposure.
Wilson noticed the large turnout of newspaper writers, television sports personalities and radio personalities at the team’s recent media day.
Wilson would like to see that trend continue throughout the year. He plans to do all he can to make sure the Pirates stay on a winning path.
He said a victory over the Hokies at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers, in the season opener would be huge.
Win or lose in today’s scrimmage, Wilson just wants to make sure he walks off the field knowing that he improved.