David Wilson today delivered a brief synopsis of his first NFL game.
"Two carries, four yards, and one fumble," the Giants' rookie running back said.
The meager totals of rushing attempts and yardage were bad enough, but it was losing the football that has really stuck with Wilson. It kept him tethered to the sideline for the remainder of the Giants' season-opening loss to the Dallas Cowboys (except for two kickoff returns). Reporters were still asking Wilson about his first pro fumble a week after the game. Chanston Rogers, his position coach at George Washington High School in Danville, Va., even got into the act.
"My high school coach texted me and said, 'You got O.B.'s,'" Wilson said. "So I went and did my O.B."
The O.B. is a peculiar form of football torture in which a player sprints 100 yards – with a football under each arm. Oh, and he has to drop down every five yards and get back up without un-tucking his arms.
"We called it 'The O.B.' for oddball," he said. "It was a name for being the oddball. If you got in trouble in school or anything, we'd call it the O.B. instead of conditioning."
Wilson said he never had to run an O.B. in high school or in college at Virginia Tech. But after finding himself in the spotlight for the wrong reason last week, Wilson took two balls into the field house at the Timex Performance Center and ran one without an audience.
He expects it to be a one-time occurrence. Wilson will get his first chance at fumble redemption Sunday, when the Giants host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coach Tom Coughlin won't say how much Wilson will play, but it's clear the Giants' first-round draft choice has made some strides in his quest to return to the offense.
"He's a little out of the doghouse," Coughlin said.
The Giants need Wilson to fully extricate himself and provide the boost to the rushing attack they anticipated when they chose the swift 5-9 running back with the 32nd selection in the draft. The Giants ran for only 82 yards against Dallas – 49 when Ahmad Bradshaw's 33-yard run is subtracted.
In 2011, the Giants were last in the NFL in rushing yards. Wilson should be able to improve their totals. But first he must prove he can hold onto the ball. Coughlin has repeated the same message to Wilson about how to hold the ball that he used to cure Tiki Barber of his fumbling problem when he arrived here in 2004.
"No matter what I do, high and tight," said Wilson, who has been holding onto a football even when he's home. "When I have the ball, it's high and tight."
After Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee knocked the ball from his grasp last week, Wilson said he was holding the ball high and tight. But obviously not tight enough.
"You have to drill it in," he said. "Have it in your mind, so it's natural. It wouldn't have come out if I had a tight grip on it."
Bradshaw had his own fumbling issues early in his career. Last year, he fumbled only once on 205 regular season touches. He has counseled Wilson on many issues and has spoken to his protégé about securing the football.
"I've told him I've been in the same situation as a rookie," Bradshaw said. "Same plays, same exact situation. I just told him to keep his head up. Little things happen. Just work on the small things, which is ball security - having the ball in the right hand at the right time. Just different things, but I just told him to get it out of his mind and keep his head up and I think everything will be fine."
Wilson expects to get more carries and make a more significant contribution against Tampa Bay.
"I'm getting reps in practice, so that's a good sign," he said.
Now he just has to convince Coughlin to put him on the field.
"Ball security," Coughlin said when asked what Wilson must do to regain his trust. "He's anxious to do right."
Now he just needs a chance to do so.
*Victor Cruz is mourning the loss of his maternal grandmother, who died Monday at the age of 77.
"She meant the world to me," Cruz said. "Besides my Mom, she practically raised me. It's obviously tough to go through. You just have to take it in stride and understand that it was her time to go, and God wanted another angel up there with Him.
"There will be services on Thursday and Friday. I'll be able to go after practice on Thursday. On Friday, I'm going to the funeral."
*Tackle Will Beatty, who did not start last week after missing the preseason with a back injury, is not on the injury list. He split practice time at left tackle with Sean Locklear.
"I feel great," Beatty said. "Not on the injury report, so that's a plus, a step forward and the rest is up to coach. I've just got to make sure that my practice gives them confidence, so if they have confidence in me in practice, they'll put me in the game. I'm trying everything I can to make sure I'm off the injury report, which is a step forward. Let them see how I practice and then we'll see for the games."
Coughlin would not say if Beatty will return to the starting lineup if he is healthy. "We'll see," Coughlin said.
*Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (foot) and rookie defensive end Adewale Ojomo (hamstring) did not practice today. Nicks said it was a planned day of rest for him and he will practice tomorrow.
Nicks said he will likely take a day off each week to rest his surgically-repaired foot.
"Until they decide to do something different," Nicks said. "They don't want to have any setbacks on it."
Five players were limited: Cornerback Prince Amukamara (ankle), defensive tackle Marvin Austin (back), center David Baas (hip), linebacker Keith Rivers (hamstring) and cornerback Michael Coe (hamstring).
Amukamara said he was limping a bit in practice but plans to start Sunday. On the other hand… "I don't want to play with a limp."
Tackle James Brewer (back) and running back Da'Rel Scott (knee) participated fully.
*For the Buccaneers, running back LaGarrette Blount missed practice with a neck injury. Guard Carl Nicks (toe) was limited. Wide receiver Arrelious Benn (knee) and cornerbacks E.J. Biggers (foot) and Anthony Gaitor (hamstring) practiced fully.