'Swagger Cuse' back and better than ever

Syracuse defensive tackle Wayne Williams details how he transformed his body and shed nearly 60-pounds in order to be ready for the upcoming season.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Wayne Williams came to Syracuse in January with a lot of hype. Unfortunately, he also brought with him a lot of excess weight. A common theme among the coaching staff when discussing the talented defensive tackle was fixing the weight issue first and worrying about football second.

Over the course of the spring and summer, Williams has transformed his body, losing between 50 and 60-pounds. There were two major changes to Williams’ lifestyle that contributed to his transformation. The first was altering his diet.

Vegetables, fruit, protein and healthy foods replaced the greasy burgers, fried items, cheese and others that contributed to the weight gain.

”For breakfast I will probably just have some fruit with eggs,” Williams said. “For lunch I’ll have some sandwich meat cut off some break. For dinner I’m pretty much just holding out with something light like grilled chicken or something. If you want it bad enough you go get it.”

Next was getting into the weight room and working extensively with Will Hicks, the strengh and condition coach for the Orange.

”Pretty much he taught me how to maximize my week,” Williams said. “I’m in here Monday through Friday. Then on Saturday and Sunday, I’m putting in extra time by myself, doing stairmasters, ellipticals and stuff like that. I’m just maximizing my week. It’s definitely not just a half-hour. I wish it was. I try to put in 30-minutes at each station, so I’m in there for probably an hour and 30-minutes overall.”

Despite the seemingly simple plan of “eat less and move more,” it wasn’t an easy change for Williams.

”I had my breaking points,” Williams said. “It’s just a hard adjustment when it’s new to you. It takes so much discipline and so much structure. Everybody’s doing it. Not being the guy no more, being just one of the guys not the guy was different. It was just the culture of Syracuse and adjusting to it.

”There really wasn’t no flip to switch. It’s more like, I came in and everybody since I started playing football was saying, ‘you’re such a great football player.’ When I got here it was the first time I had any doubt in my playing abilities, which I’m a very confident person in myself. When people tell me I can’t do something, I make it my business to do it.”

Despite doubts creeping into Williams mind from time to time, he continue to work towards the goal he set for himself with his confidence always coming back to push him through.

”I knew it was going to happen,” Williams said. “A couple of blogs twisted a couple things. I always knew that I was going to be a great player. I knew that I was going to do whatever it takes to be on the field. I knew that I was going to take those steps. It was just a matter of time. You can’t lose 60-pounds, 50-pounds, 40-pounds in a week of being here. It was just a grind and I showed people I can do it.”

The slender Williams has noticed how his new body has responded to playing football. He is lighter on his feet while keeping the strength and tenacity that made him a force in high school.

”I feel a lot faster,” Williams said. “When I first got here, it was a little bit uncomfortable standing in the stance for so long and playing at a fast pace. Here and now, I’m in a comfortable stance. I feel more relaxed and I can explode off the ball faster.”

With the weight under control, Williams can focus on football. Fulfilling the promise to become a starter and leader of the defense is now a much more attainable goal.

”Right now, I’m just taking it day by day,” Williams said. “My only expectation is to be a starter right now. I know in the past I’ve made some big comments and stuff. I still hold true to them. Like my coach always taught me, if you aim for the moon and land among the stars. I set the bar high for myself and see where I fall. Swagger ‘Cuse, pack the Dome.”

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