Williams likes what he sees

What's in store for Jamaal Williams this year after bursting out onto the Cougar scene last year? With reports of BYU's offense being injected with Coach Anae's version of JP7 jet fuel for a high-octane performance, Williams is sure to be a big-time beneficiary of what's to come.

For sophomore running back Jamaal Williams, 2013 marks a number of firsts. It's his first year participating in a spring camp, his first year with new running back coach Mark Atuaia, and it's his first year in which he doesn't feel like, well, a freshman. So, what does BYU's young but talented ball-carrier like about BYU's new offense?

"I like that it's high tempo," Williams said. "I like that it's no huddle and we just keep going and going. It makes me feel like I'm back home playing in my high school offense, because we didn't huddle up that much and kept going. Even though you're tired, you see the defense is gassed and it just gives you more momentum and more adrenaline to keep going, to go in there and score."

Having played a year – and what a debut year he had at just 17 years old – Williams is now a year wiser and more emotionally refined. He's also physically changed a little.

"What physically different about me? Well, my facial hair," Williams said with a cheeky smile as he touched his chin. "My mustache is starting to come in. No, I think the first thing that's different about me this year is all the big games and excitement of the big time-stadiums and all that won't have as much of an impact on me.

"Now that I've been to so many great stadiums, it's now about admiring the environment and stuff, but at the same time it's about getting ready to play knowing what to expect. It's not new to me and it keeps me more calm and I'm not as nervous as I was my freshman year. My freshman year, I had to keep my mind on certain things like my mom and everything. Now it's just routine with me going out there and getting focused. It's normal for me now and I feel like a senior."

Now that he's been in BYU's strength and conditioning program for a year, Williams does look more physically fit.

"Oh yeah! Oh yeah, I mean, I've got traps now [and] I'm coming really close to not being able to touch my head," Williams said as he gave a demonstration. "Look, I can't touch my head because of the traps! When I came here my freshman year, I was 195. Now I'm 205 and gained 10 pounds."

Williams had hoped to run track this year to further increase his speed, but that never came to fruition.

"I wasn't able to do track this year but I will next year," Williams said. "Right now as far as me being faster, it's about me getting my knees up and doing little things to help my performance. I'm getting bigger now so I have to do little things on my own and after practice that will help with me being a better runner. It's mostly about me keeping my knees up and getting more power that way."

Having a mother like Nicole Williams – who was a former track star at UCLA – has helped Jamaal develop an appreciation for running and speed, and that will serve him well this season.

"Well, when I heard that we were going to have a no-huddle, I was excited," Williams said with a smile. "It's not hard for me to get excited because I feel like I'm very well conditioned for that type of offense. I might be huff-puffing at times during practice, but I just keep my mind in there and run back to get back in there to do whatever they tell me to do, whether slot or in the backfield."

The offense under Coach Doman seemed to morph as last season went on. At the start of the season, the offense was more of a traditional BYU offense. That morphed into an option attack, followed by a more traditional single-back offense mixed with the I-formation and pro-sets with a run-zone style. Now, the scheme has become more simplified in order to allow the players to implement the high-octane offense, but at the same time Williams acknowledges that it will be difficult for defenses to know what role the backs are playing in any given play.

"Yeah, it depends on the play calls," Williams said. "In the play calls, they have a specific way they want it to be done. It's really simple but at the same time it's really complex for the defense to know what we're going to do, so offensive-wise it looks really simple to us."

And that's something that Williams likes seeing.

"It goes back to that triple option look where you have a bunch of people moving around. Then we do some things with the wide receivers that complements that movement that makes it hard for defenses to know exactly what we're going to do. To us it's simple but to defenses it's not, and when you add the fact that we're going to go fast, watch out!"


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