Williams could write a book

After his college football career concludes this fall, Shaud Williams might want to sit down and write a book--a playbook, that is. After all, he will have played for five different head coaches in five years of football, two at Texas Tech and three at Alabama (one redshirt season).

"Whatever offense you want to run, I'll write about," Williams said, while laughing. In his freshman season, Williams rushed for 658 yards under Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes. When the pass-happy Mike Leach replaced Dykes, Williams' rushing numbers dwindled to only 226 yards on 55 carries.

"He would throw the ball 40 to 45 times a game," Williams said of his former coach. "It just wasn't the system I wanted to be in."

Shaud Williams was Bama's leading rusher last season. (Associated Press)

Williams then transferred to Alabama, mainly because then-coach Dennis Franchione had a spot open after Dykes would not allow Williams to transfer to any Texas school (Williams was set on going to TCU). In a balanced, but more run-oriented offense, Williams became a starter after Ahmaad Galloway was lost for the season with torn knee ligaments. He led the Crimson Tide in rushing, with 921 yards on 130 attempts. But Franchione bolted to Texas A&M, to be replaced by Mike Price, who was then fired after one spring and replaced by current coach Mike Shula.

Confused yet?

The upshot is simple. Williams will be learning his fifth different offense this season.

"It's getting easier to get used to," Williams said of changing offenses. "But the time comes when we're talking and we run a play, and then someone says ‘that was such and such play, we don't run that anymore. We ran that play under so-and-so.'"

"I can adjust to anything," Williams said. "Being under five different offenses, whatever they decide to run, I'm sure I can run it."

Now Williams will be learning the offensive system of Mike Shula, which he doesn't know that much about, except for when he was notified by a reporter that Shula's system while the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was criticized because it was too "vanilla."

"All I know is that he was two minutes away from going to the Super Bowl," Williams said. "So, if his offense was vanilla, then I like vanilla ice cream."

Williams talks with reporters at Media Days.

When Price was fired on May 3 for allegations surrounding his behavior in public places, Williams was visibly upset while speaking to reporters, even shedding tears. But he never gave any thought to transferring to another school for his senior season, even though he could have done so without having to sit out a year due to the Tide's post-season ban.

"I never even considered transferring," Williams said. "I love the University of Alabama. I've developed relationships with so many people. I feel like these guys were here for me when I went through tough times that I didn't want to turn my back on anyone."

Williams will begin the season as the Tide's starting running back, but will have tough competition and solid depth behind him in junior Ray Hudson and redshirt freshman Kenneth Darby. But he said that the toughest part of the season would be replacing the void left by Galloway.

"You can't really replace Ahmaad Galloway," Williams said. "He was so smart, such a good running back, and showed great leadership. I can try. If I get somewhat close to replacing him, then I'll say that I had a good season."

This class of seniors will not get a chance to go to a bowl game, but not one of them transferred to another school when given the opportunity. Williams thinks that fans will remember the group in a special way.

Shown talking with Charlie Peprah in the Tide weight room, Williams has become a team leader.

"We'll be thought of as a tough team," Williams said. "A tough team that got us through the tough times. Hopefully we will lay the foundation for future teams to get past times of trouble."

But whatever times of trouble may still be around, Williams and his teammates are ready to get the season underway. The first practice is set for Aug. 5, and the season opener is on Aug. 30 against South Florida.

"It's going to feel great," Williams said. "Everybody is ready. We're tired of talking. We're ready to get it going."


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