Jerome Miron / USA TODAY

Texas A&M freshman tailback presents problem for Alabama

Alabama’s good rush defense faces A&M star frosh tailback

From the outside looking at Texas A&M, the first thought might be of the Aggies wrecking crew on the defensive front, Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall. Or it might be the nightmare memory of new quarterback Trevor Knight, who transferred from Oklahoma and who now has Christian Kirk, Ricky Seals-Jones, and Josh Reynolds as game-breaking receivers.

But there is much more to the sixth-ranked and undefeated Aggies (6-0 overall, 4-0 in Southeastern Conference games) who come to Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. No. 1 Alabama (7-0, 4-0) hosts Texas A&M at 2:30 p.m. CDT with CBS televising the game.

For instance, the Aggies have outstanding defensive backs in Armani Watts, Justin Evans, and Donovan Wilson, and an offensive line (they call themselves the Big Maroon Goons) that averages 311 pounds per man.

But it may be that the piece of the puzzle that has been missing for Coach Kevin Sumlin’s previous A&M teams is now in place in the form of freshman tailback Trayveon Williams.

The 5-9, 200-pound Williams, a year out of high school in Houston, is one of three tailbacks who will rotate into the tailback spot for the Aggies. He’s listed with James White, 6-0, 217 junior, and Keith Ford, 5-11, 215-pound junior transfer from Oklahoma.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, “I always think they’ve been a really dynamic offense and a really difficult offense to defend. But the guy’s got great speed and quickness, he’s got great vision as a runner. The field is spread quite a bit when you play them so if everybody doesn’t fit it exactly right there’s a lot of air between him and the next defender and he certainly knows how to take advantage of it. He’s got a great burst and speed, great cutting ability so this guy is the real deal, in my opinion.”

Ryan Anderson, Alabama’s 6-2, 253-pound strongside linebacker, called Williams “elite.” Williams, Anderson said, has changed the Texas A&M offense to be “more committed to the run. They’re going to make you stop the run before they pass.”

Williams leads the Aggies in rushing with 82 carries for 704 yards. (He has only 9 yards in losses for the season.) He has 5 rushing touchdowns and averages 8.6 yards per carry and 117.3 yards per game.

Williams could be a challenge for the Alabama defense, which is giving up a miserly 63.9 yards per game rushing. A&M averages 274.3 yards per game rushing.


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