Tre Williams (above) is a sophomore from St. Paul's School in Mobile.
Auburn, Ala.--Developing consistency has been a struggle for the Auburn Tigers this football season on both offense and defense. Injuries have likely been a contributing factor on defense.
One defender hoping to play the second half of the season in full health is sophomore linebacker Tre Williams. The Mobile native has been in on 23 tackles this year, including a 10-tackle effort at LSU.
Against Kentucky in Auburn’s 30-27 victory on Thursday night, Williams tallied four tackles and was in during the defensive stand on the Wildcats’ final drive.
“It’s always a great feeling,” Williams says of the stop at the end of the game to preserve the victory. “Coach (Gus) Malzahn told us a lot about trust--trusting in each other. The action he made by punting the ball to them, it really showed that he really trusts us and we did our job.”
Although the Tigers made several key stops in crucial situations in Lexington, Williams admits that the defense has a long way to go after giving up 25 first downs, 138 rushing yards and 359 passing yards to the Wildcats.
Improved play on third downs could certainly help the Tigers, the linebacker points out. “When you’re making big stops on first and second down and they’re trying to run the ball and you get big stops, and then they end up getting that third down conversion, you’re kind of like, ‘Ahh, again?’ You have to play another three downs.”
Although the Tigers allowed Kentucky to convert just 5-13 third downs, for the season they are last in the SEC in third down stops. Opponents are converting on 46.7 percent of those opportunities vs. the Tigers.
Williams was sidelined in Auburn’s last home game against San Jose State, recovering from a knee injury that he suffered vs. Mississippi State. Thursday night vs. Kentucky he was eager to get out on the field and play, but notes at first he was worried about not being his old self.
“I was nervous," Williams says. “I wasn’t feeling too well at first, but my teammates kept me up and gave me the confidence and I just went out there and played.”
When asked if he was full speed, Williams quickly responded. “Oh yeah, for sure. For sure.
Williams and the Tigers, who are 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the SEC, are preparing for their trip to Fayetteville to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks this Saturday (11 a.m. CDT, SEC Network), which is a another SEC game Williams is looking forward to playing.
“You know as a linebacker, you have to enjoy contact,” he says. “Every play’s going to be contact. With Arkansas you’re going to come out of this game pretty sore. You have to get your mind right from day one. We have Arkansas at 11 o’clock. It’s going to be a big one and it’s a must-win so we’re going to do whatever we can do to get that W.”
However, there might be one thing about the next game that doesn’t excite the linebacker. “I’m not going to lie,” Williams says when asked if he likes the morning kickoff. “I really don’t. I like my sleep, but then again, it’s whatever. Whenever it’s time to put the ball down we’re going to play.”