It is not easy to play in the offensive line as a freshman, and it certainly is not easy to start. However, since the first day Trent Williams reported to OU out of football crazy Longview, Texas, he hasn't acted like a freshman.
OU head football coach Bob Stoops said following practice Monday that Williams just has a maturity about him along with the size and strength necessary to play in the offensive line as a freshman.
When training camp started, Williams immediately was slotted at right tackle and he started earning some major playing time against Texas. Since the game with the Longhorns, Williams has been alternating with Chris Messner and Branndon Braxton at the tackle position. And now that Braxton is lost for the year with leg and ankle injuries, Williams will draw his first start on the road against 22nd-ranked Missouri this Saturday.
Following practice today, Williams sat down with OUinsider.com for the Two Minute Drill.
JH: I know you didn't want your opportunity to come at the expense of a teammate getting injury, but now that the opportunity is here what do you think about it?
TW: "Yeah, it was unfortunate. I just think that I have to make the best of the situation and not let that be a downfall for the team. I need to step up and do my best.
JH: The coach's say that you are a cut above most freshmen and that you can handle the playing time. Why do you think that is?
TW: "I think it is just from the background that I came from. We had real good coaches at Longview and they helped me prepare for what I am going through right now. I also have real good coaches now, so I am just trying to soak all the coaching up and trying to be the best that I can."
JH: You guys know how to run the football at Longview don't you?
TW: "Yeah, we always had two good tailbacks while I was there. We punched it in a lot."
JH: So when you came to Oklahoma at least you know how to run block?
TW: "Yeah, I guess you could say that."
JH: You had a pretty good receiver there as well didn't you?
TW: "Yeah, we had Malcolm Kelly. We didn't throw the ball to him much. He was kind of a lifejacket for us. When it was third and long we just threw a touchdown to Malcolm."
JH: How much has he talked to you since you started playing, especially know that you are going to be a starter?
TW: "He really has been talking to me since camp. He told from the beginning that I had an opportunity to play. He told me that I had to tighten up because all eyes are now on me. He told me to step up because not many people get to do what I do — play as a true freshman in the O-line. That is not a position that you sub in a lot. Before I even came to camp, he was telling me that I had a chance to play and was giving me encouragement."
JH: Was it a different Monday for you than the others before you knew you were going to be a starter on national television?
TW: "Yeah, mentally because I have to pay more attention to film. Usually, I am not going to say that I neglect it, but I wasn't paying as close attention as I needed have to now."
JH: What has been the biggest adjustment for you as a freshman?
TW: "Every snap you have to play your hardest, because at any given time the player across from you can make the play. That play can cost you the game, because everybody is on scholarship and everybody is just as good as you. They are as big and as strong as you, so you have to play hard every snap."
JH: What do you think are your strengths?
TW: "I want to inflict pain on a defense, and I just want to do my job. If I do that, the rest will take care of itself."
JH: So you are saying your mean and you take a defensive personality to the offensive line?
TW: "Yeah, I admit in the game I get a little mean. In practice, I try to get everything together. But in a game, I play with a little more attitude."
JH: How did it feel to throw that block for fellow freshman Chris Brown that sprung him into the end zone?
TW: "It felt real good because Chris Brown is one of my real good friends. I want him to score just as bad as anybody else. Making the key block gave me an extra boost inside."
JH: How much has playing a little in these first few games helped?
TW: "Oh, they helped me a lot. I am glad that I am not just getting thrown into the fire and that I have a couple of reps under my belt. I am glad that the coaches have incorporated me into the offense early so now it is nothing new to me."
JH: Has the fact that you were playing in the fourth quarter against Texas been beneficial to you?
TW: "It gave me a lot of confidence in myself, and it let me know that the coaches have confidence in me out there in that situation. It wasn't just when we were getting blown out or when the game didn't matter."
JH: What are your early thoughts on Missouri?
TW: "They are a good team and I think it is going to be a nice, hard-fought battle. It is going to be a little trouble for us on the road, but I think we can overcome it if we play as team."
JH: What do you have to do on the road to play well?
TW: "You have to zone the crowd out. And if you do, that will make a big difference for you. You have to trust your teammates, because everybody else is against you except for the people that are along with you. You have to zone everybody out and just play as a team."
JH: Missouri is pretty athletic up front on defense aren't they?
TW: "Yeah, they're pretty good. We watched them on film today and their front four and linebackers run pretty well. They have 29 sacks on the year. They lead the league or something like that. So we will have our hands full."
Williams seizing his opportunity
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