Williams Not Complacent With Starting Role

Judging by the last few games of the 2002 season, it seems like senior Mike Williams is truly saving his best for last. As a starter on a unit which was much maligned last year, he is driven to leave his mark as his embarks on his final year in Tempe.

Williams acknowledges that it's much better to be the clear cut starting running back, and not face the somewhat uncertainly of last year. "It's a good position to be in. But I know we have a lot of talent coming back. If I don't work hard, I won't be the starter anymore. That's why I can't let up and work hard in practice everyday." As one of the team's running backs he heard all too often the criticism over his performance, as well as the rest of his group. Those remarks didn't fall on deaf hears. "Yeah, you hear all that stuff and you take pride in what you do. All of us want to go out there and do a good job. We know that we can have a great offense if we can run the ball well, and last year we didn't do that. I know this year we'll be better in running the ball. I don't think people will be staying bad stuff about the running game this year."

Despite the punishing sun beating down on him and his teammates, Williams was happy to be back practicing. "It's just good to hang out with the guys and come together on the field. We're expecting great things this year, and it all starts with what you do here today in practice. It's also good getting the younger guys out here and helping them out. You want to get everyone clicking right now, so we're ready for the season."

During spring practice, Williams took a great deal of reps with the wide receivers group. This was in part to give the younger backs more opportunity to showcase their skills, as well as utilize Williams' versatility at playing that position. The senior flashes a 1,000-watt grin when he talks about the possibilities of playing in that other role. "I had fun doing that in the spring. I learned a lot practicing with the receivers, and I think I did well there. I think you'll see me play there a lot this year (smile)."

With his ASU career approaching his last season, Williams can't help but be reflective. "Hard to believe I'm going to Tontozona for the last time. These three years went by so fast. That's why I really want to play well my senior year and finish strong." And at whatever position he does so, this talented senior is definitely poised to fulfill his desire of culminating a Sun Devil career in a successful manner.

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