Mike Williams Enjoys Double Duty

At the end of a roller coaster season, senior Mike Williams emerged as the clear-cut number one running back. However, during this year's spring practice he is talking many reps at receiver, in order to develop the team's talented but inexperienced ball carriers. DevilsDigest talked to Williams on this issue and others.

Mike William's started seven games in 2002, but his starts late in the season were mostly due to Cornell Canidate's injury. However, he did take full advantage of the opportunity, and scored four of his seven touchdowns in the regular season finale against Arizona. Even though he finished as the team's second lead rusher with 482 yards, he is considered the team's first string running back going into this year. Williams acknowledged that the late season momentum is carrying over to this spring. "You always have to come into spring practice with confidence," says the senior, "But you also have to come in with the frame of mind that you have to work hard everyday and build on that. That's what I have to do to get better and help the team."

And speaking of lending a helping hand, he didn't mind taking most of his snaps at wide receiver in this spring session. Williams who had 67 yards receiving and one touchdown last season, realizes that his temporary re-assignment allows young inexperienced backs like Loren Wade and Randy Hill to get more reps, and allows him to bolster a somewhat thin wide receiver unit. "A year and a half ago the coaches started playing me in the slot a little, but this year we're doing more of that. I'm just enjoying being out there and learning more of the offense, and it's good for Loren and Randy to get more experience. It all works out for me…Being that I am the starting tailback it's nice to expand my game a little. Playing receiver gives us another offensive option and a chance for me to get more touches or be a decoy and help others make plays."

Now the questions arises: Does the Orange County, CA native enjoy his new duties so much, that he may think of becoming a full time wide out? "Nah. I love playing running back (smile). I'll never give that up for something else. Playing receiver is just something else to do." Furthermore, he does realize that his starting status could change if he slacks off. "Your number one goal is always be the best of what you do. Right now, I'm a running back and the coaches know that I want to be the number one guy and establish myself there. Wherever else they want to play me that's OK. But being the starting running back is what I want to do the most."

Williams did play as a true freshman in 2000. He started three games and posted respectable numbers of 514 yards and five touchdowns. His sophomore year he was regulated to a reserve behind Delvon Flowers and Tom Pace, and as mentioned he still didn't enjoy the full time starter status in 2003. The Mayfair, CA High School star reflects on his career thus far and how he wants to go out his senior year. "These three years went by real fast. I started out with coach Snyder playing early, and now I'm going into my senior season. It's just all so quick, and now I'm down to my last go around. But I'm gonna enjoy my last year, and make it my best season. I'm looking for a big ring this year"! And if Mike William's is talking about a Rose Bowl piece of jewelry, then an outstanding performance by him at both positions will be a vital pre-requisite.

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