Auburn, Ala.--With all-star starter Montravius Adams plus two other seniors, Maurice Swain and Devaroe Lawrence, having to be replaced for the 2017 Auburn football season, opportunity for expanded playing time is there for junior Andrew Williams.
Asked if this is an important spring for him, Williams said, “Oh, most definitely. Just like every spring coming in, it has just been an opportunity to get better. Transitioning from D-End to D-Tackle, they always say that every day is an opportunity to get better. In my case, it truly is--just really perfecting and learning how to play D-tackle to the fullest.”
Rodney Garner, who coaches the 6-4, 285 defensive linemen, points out that Williams has steadily improved since arriving at Auburn. Williams agrees.
“If you asked me as a freshman, I would say I couldn't play in college football,” Williams says. “Every day is truly a grind. It's either you getting better or getting worse. Some days you get better, and some days you don’t, but that's why you get a chance to play another day.”
After joining the team in 2014 as a graduate of Eagles Landing Christian where he was named Georgia’s Class A Player of the Year, Williams remembers the challenge of stepping up in competition level.
In one of his first college practices he was taking reps with the first, second and third teams because of injuries to the other defensive ends while trying to take on offensive tackle Shon Coleman and others. “My head's spinning, I'm everywhere,” Williams recalls. “That was the really the time when reality crashed on me. ‘Okay, I've got years to go.’”
Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele has noticed improvement from the defensive tackle and says that Williams has a solid chance to be a starter to open the 2017 campaign. “I wouldn’t have said that at the start of the season,” Steele declares. “By the end of the year, did we trust him to be out there on crucial downs? Absolutely.”
As a redshirt sophomore Williams played in 13 games and made 13 tackles with 2 1/2 sacks. In 2015 he made four tackles with one sack.
“We trust him to go out there in any situation,” Steele says. “He earned that trust. By the end of the year he was in that category.”