Freshman DB Williams trying to earn playing time
Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 23:04
Avery Williams was in perfect position going up against receiver Ivan McCartney in a play during a scrimmage last week.
West Virginia cornerbacks coach David Lockwood will admit it.
But at the end of the play, despite his "good coverage," Lockwood sent Williams to run the Milan Puskar Stadium stairs.
The freshman peeked into the backfield in an attempt to read the quarterback, which allowed McCartney to catch the pass and take it up the sidelines.
"With a coach like coach Lockwood, you can't show weakness," Williams said. "You think you've had a great practice, but coach Lockwood can always find one small thing. To play at the D-I level, you can't have weakness."
Three weeks into his first camp with the Mountaineers and Williams is still adjusting to playing at the collegiate level while shaking the rust off after taking the past year off.
Williams originally signed his Letter of Intent with West Virginia in January 2010 but failed to qualify academically, causing him to miss the 2010 season.
Three weeks into WVU's spring camp, however, and the Washington, D.C., native has been one of the bright spots in an otherwise depleted secondary that lost starters Brandon Hogan, Robert Sands and Sidney Glover.
Williams has all the tools, Lockwood said, but is currently in the process of putting everything together and learning the aspects of defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 defense.
"He has potential. He has all the ability in the world," Lockwood said. "He's a young guy, so he's going to make mistakes. The thing that I like about him is that he doesn't back down. With that mentality, he'll be OK."
That mentality has helped Williams forget about allowing a catch or a touchdown, either by McCartney or when he allowed Tavon Austin to score, and move on to the next play.
It's a mentality the freshman said he was raised with.
"If something bad happens, life goes on. Nobody's perfect," Williams said. "If somebody catches the ball over you, move on."
Williams said that, despite taking a year off from football, he has surprised himself with his success and progress in spring camp thus far.
The biggest obstacle for his 5-foot-11, 176-pound frame is adjusting to the speed and strength of Division-I receivers, especially after admitting to "slacking" early in his time away from the field.
He has also surprised Casteel.
"He's been a surprise because we haven't seen him," Casteel said. "We're really seeing him for the first time."
He's a playmaker, according to Lockwood. And according to the coach, if a player makes plays, he's guaranteed to see the field.
"It has been tough for me to adjust," Williams said. "But as we get into summer camp, you'll see a more improved Avery Williams. So far, I could be much better, but I feel good."