CAMP VIDEO: Williams On the Mark
BERKELEY -- For the past several months, each time BearTerritory has observed Tyrone Williams -- from Las Vegas for the Pylon Elite 7on7 tournament, to Passing Down in Elk Grove, Calif., and the Elite 11 tryout at Chabot College in Hayward, Calif., there's always been a hint of something there. It wasn't until this weekend in Berkeley that Williams truly showed just what that something was, earning a lot of face time with the California coaching staff and completing well over 75% of his passes, both in full pads and in seven-on-seven situations.
"I've worked on speed, reading better, having personal meetings with my coach, just one-on-one, to learn defenses," said the 2015 signal-caller out of Merced, Calif. "quote"
For both Saturday and Sunday, Cal offensive coordinator Tony Franklin followed Williams – and the rest of the Merced contingent – around like a puppy dog, with a big grin on his face as he pulled Williams aside and gave him some individual coaching. More than any other camp, this camp put Williams in front of a hungry coaching staff, and it's hard to argue that anyone did more with the opportunity to showcase skills in front of the Bears' staff.
"He talked to my coach earlier [on Saturday], and he told me he wanted to work with me a little bit," Williams said.
While watching Merced's full-pads game in the late morning, several Cal defensive players mused aloud that the Merced Bears should be nationally ranked, in large part because of Williams's timing and accuracy.
"We're not," Williams laughed.
On Saturday, Williams started off the evening seven-on-seven session by completing seven straight passes against one of the renegade teams (made up of individual players, rather than high school teammates), with Franklin in tow. The Cal camp was the most he's thrown in a month.
"I've been to a couple camps, and I was throwing there, but not really a lot," he said. "I went to the Fresno State camp, the San Diego State camp and, most recently, San Jose State."
The Merced staff told BearTerritory that they want Williams – who sprouted from 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-4, and put on nearly 20 pounds of muscle ("I lifted and ate […] a lot," Williams said. "I do push-ups and pull-ups every night.") – to run more this season, and he showed that ability multiple times over the weekend. One of those runs was stopped midstream because the other team did not want to go full-tackle. Williams was understandably miffed, as he would have easily run for a touchdown.
"I would have loved to play full tackle," he grins. "I think that, just because I'm a quarterback, they don't think I can run. I like to prove people wrong."
Williams is, by nature, more of a thrower who can run, rather than a runner who happens to play quarterback, so the transition has been a struggle at times, but he looked plenty at ease on two zone-read runs on Sunday.
"It's a little bit more difficult, because I started off my football career as a running back, and I was a running quarterback my very first year, but my coach wanted me to be more of a thrower," Williams said. "I've gotten used to just throwing and throwing. Last year, I had only 100 or something rushing yards. They want me to be more of a contributor in the running game."
Last season, Williams ran for a net 51 yards and six touchdowns, while completing 54.1% of his passes for 2,060 yards and 19 touchdowns.
One of the criticisms of Williams, and one of the reasons he hasn't yet scored an offer, is his unorthodox throwing motion, but he's been working on that, too.
"It's taken a little bit, and I've tinkered a little bit, but mostly, it's the same," Williams said. "My off hand, usually I bring it down, but I'm trying to keep it up a bit more, so I'm rotating, instead of dropping. Also, I'm getting down more. Usually, I throw upright, but now I'm getting more power out of my back foot."
That power was evident in several balls that he uncorked that traveled more than 45 yards in the air and right into the waiting hands of his receivers, who he hit in stride.
One of those receivers, 2016er A.J. Stewart (No. 7 in gray in the above video), was impressive enough to earn a lot of attention from the Cal staff, which, word has it, will be watching him closely, this year. Last season, Stewart caught 20 balls for 382 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore.
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