ANN ARBOR, Mich. – All Jim Harbaugh had to do was ask A.J. Williams to get faster, and the senior provided the results.
Or it was something like that, Williams said candidly on Tuesday.
“It was a variety of things, but it eventually came down to me needing to know I need to run faster,” said Williams, who has been playing his best stretch of football of his career, with nine catches for 99 yards, good for an 11.0 yards per catch average.
“Pretty much it was a weight loss thing for me,” said Williams, who was better known as a blocking tight end his first three years of his career. “Then kind of a mindset change as well. Making sure my teammates and everybody isn’t waiting on me to get anywhere, so my job was to make sure I was as fast as I can. It’s been working out.”
What was Williams’ secret behind his weight loss? Well, he says he cut out late night snacks, soft drinks and no more chicken wings with his roommates, which led to 20-pounds or so of weight loss to his now much slimmer 275-pounds.
“I think also with losing weight and being faster, I think that knowing more has helped me playing faster,” Williams said. “Also just trying to get a grasp of things as helped me as well.”
Moreover, Williams admits it’s been a nice change to be targeted more during his final year at U-M, but won’t put label on himself as the “go-to” receiver, instead he noted the value of have a strong core of tight ends.
“I just think we are all go-to (tight ends),” Williams said. “We got four or five tight ends who can easily all produce well. I just think Coach Jay (Harbaugh) has done a good job of spreading the wealth. You know helping take loads off other people. It’s worked out for us, it’s been a good thing.”
However, he was quick to note how special it’s been to be more part of the offense this season, as well.
“Honestly, it feels great to actually, not that I was never part of something, but it feels great to part of this change that I know that we are making,” Williams said. “And we’re headed in the right direction.”