There Is No Place Like Home

This experienced junior will likely be a big part of the Tigers' plans this fall at linebacker.

Auburn, Ala.--So far this spring Antarrious Williams has been a man on the move. At the start of spring drills the 5-11, 208 junior was moved to free safety in attempt to capitalize on his quickness and play making ability. However, with spring practice winding down Williams is back at his old home roaming the field much closer to the line of scrimmage.

"It's good to be back at linebacker because I already know the plays," Williams says. "Now I have just got to get used to being a linebacker again because I was back there at safety. But, I already know the defense so that really helps me out a little bit."

With the need for experienced depth at the weakside linebacker position behind starter Travis Williams and Williams' physical style of play matched with his quick feet the move back to his old home seemed like a natural fit.

Linebacker's coach Joe Whitt says that despite the need for some experience at the strongside and middle linebacker positions, Williams is a weakside guy all the way. "Yeah, that is where we like to have our quick guys and he is very, very quick," he notes.

Antarrious Williams

The junior, who made a couple of big hits on tailback Tre Smith behind the line of scrimmage in the annual A-Day scrimmage, says that his experience really helped him handle his merry-go-round spring.

"It's just kind of getting used to the positions, but the defense is the same," Williams explains. "So, if you know the defense the transitions back and forth are a little bit easier to make."

One big key for Williams heading into the 2004 season will be his health. The linebacker was held out of spring drills in 2003 while rehabbing from a broken leg suffered in the Tigers' Citrus Bowl victory over Penn State.

Then, in two-a-days in the fall of 2003 Williams broke a bone in the top of his hand that required him to play almost the whole season with a huge club on his left hand. Williams says that made it difficult to be at his best last season.

"It did a little bit because I couldn't grab a hold of anybody or get anybody off me because I had only one hand," Williams says about being affected by having to play with the club. "Now that I have got my hand back and I don't have the club on there it feels good."

Now the junior says that he is excited about the possibility of being 100 percent heading into the 2004 season. "It feels good to be back healthy, so I am just trying to stay injury free," he notes. "Now I don't have that big club on my hand so I can make more plays and break up more passes. Hopefully, I can just get some interceptions or something. It feels real good to have both hands back."

As for his play throughout the spring, Williams says that he is encouraged, but also knows that he must improve before the season starts. "I feel alright, but I know what I need to work on and I know we need to get better as a defense, the linebacker says. "We are just going to continue to work this summer and get bigger, stronger, faster and know our defense a little bit better."

However, Coach Whitt says that he has seen some good things out of Williams this spring and his short stint in the secondary has actually been a positive for him.

"He has come a long way," Whitt explains. "He worked back in the secondary some and actually that has helped him. It really helped him in his coverage and things of that nature and he is solid in the running game. He is going to be a good player for us."


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