The concept of being a leader when an athlete is in their last year, be it senior or redshirt senior. of a sport is one that goes without saying. For some, the idea may take time to wrap their head around or come to terms with the newfound leadership role. Saturday’s spring football game this past weekend was canceled due to the winter weather still lingering in Morgantown, but it did not stop several of the players being available to speak to the media.
Since the team did not suit up for the annual spring game Saturday, much of the talk at Coach Holgorsen’s Walk the Talk inauguarl event benefitting WVU Medicine Children’s was focused on the senior leaders this coming fall. Redshirt senior safety Dravon Askew-Henry, senior defensive lineman Ezekiel Rose and senior wide receiver David Sills V were some of the seasoned players speaking with the media on leading the team come September.
For Askew-Henry, the idea of being one of the team’s leaders was put in his head from Coach Tony Gibson, giving him the nudge that there’s not much time left to suit up in the Old Gold and Blue.
“I just have to be that leader out there this year. I can’t talk about it, I just have to do it, just by leading by example on and off the field. In the film room, in practice, in meetings just all around,” Askew-Henry remarked. “. . . He (Coach Gibson) told me right after the last game last year against Utah that it is time to step up and be that leader. It’s my last go-round.”
Ezekiel Rose is using his leadership skills by being a sort of football ambassador by supporting other Mountaineer sports teams and attending their events.
“I actually like to socialize with the other sports. So, I go to their meets, I like to meet of the athletes that play other sports, because I also play a lot of other sports,” Rose pointed out. “I play tennis, I play basketball, I actually played volleyball. I’m just willing to see what they have going.”
Wide receiver Sills pointed out Saturday that the team is in a great place in terms of team chemistry and the bond formed on and off the football field. Fans can tell when a team does not mesh, when there’s not a strong sense of brotherhood or when the team lacks leadership; but rest assured, David Sills V sees all of these necessities in his team this year.
“A lot of guys have some great character, a lot of great leadership. Which I feel like this year we have great leadership, not that we didn’t have that in the past, I just feel that this year is very special with our locker room and the guys we have in there are good character,” Sills said. “We all really have the same goals and that is to just win on the field and I feel like we have done a good job at doing that. That’s really where the team chemistry comes from is having that good character in the locker room, good leadership so that everyone can follow the group of guys that are leading the team.”
As spring ball comes to end, it seems this current roster is looking up to its seniors for leadership and guidance. These seasoned seniors are staring down the final stretch of West Virginia football and appear ready to give their fellow Mountaineers all they’ve got.