Small LB Looks To Play Big Against Hogs

Senior linebacker Antarrious Williams talks about Saturday night's showdown with Arkansas on the road.

Auburn, Ala.–-Senior Antarrious Williams has heard it all before. He's too small to play linebacker in the SEC at just 5-11, 213. What's he going to do when they play a very physical team like Arkansas? Will he be able to get the job done?

He's seen it all and heard it all, but all he continues to do is make plays. Auburn's second-leading tackler in 2005 with 25 tackles, including a team-high 16 solos, Williams has been very good this season for the Tigers. He says that while he's not the biggest of guys, this defense allows him to get the job done because of assignment football.

That's something that will be needed this weekend against a powerful Arkansas running game. Depending on each player on the defense to do his job, Williams says that slowing down the Hogs will be a challenge for the undersized linebacking corps, but he wouldn't have it any other way.

"It's always a challenge everyday I put the pads on to go out there and play the position that I play," Williams says. "Mentally, if we go out and fit our gaps like we're supposed to, then we'll be fine."

Williams is determined to close out his career on a high note in 2005.

This season the Hogs are more like plain ground pork, leading the SEC and third in the country in rushing at 286 yards per game. Even with the loss of all-everything quarterback Matt Jones, the all-time leader in SEC history for rushing yards by a quarterback, the Razorbacks have continued to pound the football. Williams says that watching them on film is very similar to what they have done in past seasons.

"It's pretty much the same team," Williams says. "They run the same offense. I think what they do, the power game they've been running in the past, has just added more to it. They run it a lot more than they have in the past because Matt Jones had a pretty strong arm and he could throw too. This quarterback (Robert Johnson) is pretty good and he can throw, but we have to go out and stop the run first."

That is something easier said that done against Arkansas this season. In five games the least amount of yards the Hogs have rushed for is 194 against Vanderbilt. Against USC they totaled 197 on the ground while they blitzed Alabama's defense for 237 yards on just 40 carries. Williams says the Auburn defense knows what to expect out of Arkansas come Saturday night at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"That's what they are going to do," Williams says. "That's Auburn football. We're going to be prepared and we know that they are going to run the ball on virtually every play almost. We just have to prepare and be more physical than they are.

"If we stop the run first then we can basically predict when they're going to pass the ball," Williams adds. "That's going to help us out if we can go out there and stop the run."

This season Arkansas has carried the ball 235 times for 1,432 yards, but has thrown it just 128 times for 641 yards. Because of that Williams says that Auburn defense has a pretty good idea of what to expect out of the Razorbacks this weekend--a man-to-man showdown.

"It's easier to prepare, but it's harder to go out and whoop them," Williams says. "It's going to be hard because they are a physical team and they're going to run the ball just about every play. We just have to prepare to go out and whoop them on each and every play because they have the same attitude against us. They're going to try to whoop us on every play. We just have to be prepared."

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