SANTA CLARA — 49ers running back Jeff Wilson says a heart-to-heart with his position coach was key to the turning point in his rookie year.
“Me and my coach had a pow-wow,” Wilson said. “Me and Bobby Turner had a pow-wow about two weeks ago. Just me and him. I then I just got my mind right and just went from there.”
Wilson, an undrafted free agent from North Texas, finally the call that he was being moved up to the active roster, just a day before the the team was to face off with the Buccaneers in Tampa.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said WIlson’s performance in practice the two weeks prior to the game was why he got the nod.
“He’s just been doing a good job in practice,” Shanahan said. “Especially coming off the bye week, getting some more work in. We did that the week before the bye week, getting him a lot more reps.
“So we come back here and gave him even more reps. He had taken a big step in those two weeks. He seemed ready to play and we wanted to give him the opportunity.”
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Wilson explained that what Turner said to him were simple things that he already knew, but it gave him a sense of urgency to improve. After running back Raheem Mostert was placed on injured reserve after the 49ers win over the Raiders, Wilson knew his moment had arrived.
“It was just like a light bulb went on,” Wilson said. “And you know, we’ve had a lot of injuries and stuff we had to deal with so the opportunity probably came faster than what was expected. Either way, I’m just happy to play, and happy to be with the guys.”
Wilson not only got a surprise the day before the game, he received another on game day. Secret arrangements had been made for his parents to make the trip from Texas to attend their son’s first NFL game.
“It means a lot to me and my family,” Wilson said. “I’m thankful to every coach that’s on this staff and every player that’s on this team because they always kept me up and they always kept me working. I feel like it’s my duty to give them all I got .”
In Wilson’s first game, he almost scored his first NFL touchdown. Wilson’s 9-yard run to the right pylon was originally signaled as a touchdown, but the call was reversed. Wilson still believes he got in.
“Yeah no doubt,“ Wilson said. “That’s why I had the little celebration. Even if I didn’t get it, I was still going to act like it because that’s a moment that you can’t pass up on.”
While he had a notable first performance, Wilson said it still hurts that the team didn’t get a win. He has also set some lofty goals for the remaining five games.
“Win every one,” Wilson said. “Win every one and improve from the game before. Even though it may not turn out that way, that’s the way I’m going to approach it because I know that’s the way my team is going to approach it. So it’s only right that I do the same thing.”