EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –- Rookie running back David Wilson said he did not cry on the sideline after fumbling the second carry of his pro career in Wednesday night's loss to the Cowboys.
“Nah, I wasn’t crying but I was definitely upset,” Wilson said on Thursday. “But, I think it would have been a lot worse if I was smiling or feeling good about it.
“I am passionate about the game and I know that [fumbling] is something I have been working on,” he continued. “And not wanting to do it and for it to happen on my second carry in the opening game, I was highly disappointed.”
Wilson was visibly upset after losing the fumble in the first quarter of the 24-17 loss to Dallas in the season opener and he was benched on offense by head coach Tom Coughlin, who doesn't tolerate fumbles.
There are some who think Wilson shed a tear on the sideline when an NBC camera showed him talking to running backs coach Jerald Ingram following the fumble. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks also went to console the rookie and let him know everything would be fine.
Wilson would only play as a kick returner the rest of the game after his fumble at the Dallas 28-yard-line while the Giants were driving.
Coughlin said he benched the exciting rookie and went with starter Ahmad Bradshaw the rest of the game to avoid any more miscues.
Wilson vowed his confidence has not taken a hit by the benching.
“Oh no, my confidence is definitely not shaken,” Wilson said. “As a running back, fumbles happen and you definitely got to come back from it and it is something you don’t want to make a habit of.
“You just got to work hard and give them something else to remember you by,” he added.
Wilson had fumbling issues while at Virginia Tech, and the Giants were concerned about his ball protection upon drafting him in the first round.
Coughlin, who helped Tiki Barber with his fumbling issues, said he has confidence in Wilson’s ability as a kick returner at the moment. And he plans to work with Wilson on the fumbling since the rookie is a factor in the Giants’ offense as a change-of-pace back and offensive weapon with his speed.
“Ball security is a huge issue and it’s an issue when he first came here,” Coughlin said. “And I am trying hard to make sure it is not an issue. We got a little work to do.”
“[The benching decision] is more let the veteran [Bradshaw] play and let’s hope we don’t have another occasion to shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Wilson said he carried the ball tight and close to him but it was just a good hit by Dallas linebacker Sean Lee that popped it out.
“They are coming for the ball no matter whether it is loosey goosey or high and tight, whatever,” Coughlin said. “You got to hang onto the ball and be aware where the enemy is as he closes in on you. It came out and quite frankly that was a drive where some decent things were happening.”
Coughlin said the Giants have “designed things” for Wilson in the offense and “will continue to do that and continue to build.”
“He was very upset about what had happened and I did give him credit for that,” Coughlin said. “He was deeply, deeply sorry about what happened.”
Wilson, incidentally, vows to bounce back.
“The coaches just said have a good week of practice and fight back,” Wilson said. “I don’t think they totally gave up on me. They wanted to show me how important it was to hold onto the ball.”
“I am definitely going to be thinking about it more in practice,” he added. “There are a lot more things to do (to think about) but you can’t do it if you don’t have the ball and are making turnovers. That is first priority.”