Second Try At Last Go-Round

One year ago, then senior linebacker Reed Williams was preparing for his final season with West Virginia University. Even after undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason, Williams thought his final year would play out in 2008.

However, as the season progressed, it became evident that the pain in his shoulders would keep him from playing. A tough decision to redshirt followed, and now, after a year on the sidelines and shoulder rehabilitation, Williams is ready to finish his career as a Mountaineer.

"I'm still trying to do some things (to help the shoulder)," said Williams. "The rehab is not nearly as much as it used to be. I'm lucky to be back. I bought myself another year. Not many people have the opportunity to do that. I'm going to try and take full advantage of it. I wake up every day with that attitude and try to come in and work and have fun. It's the last go around."

Williams admits that although sitting out for the first season in years was difficult, he was able to learn a lot during his time off.

"Last year was tough," Williams admitted. "Last year was a tough year for me. I think I grew a lot as a person and as a man. I think I'm better for it now. What's done is done and now I just have to look forward to what's to come and what we have in front of us."

Despite seeing time in just two games last season, Williams put up impressive numbers. In games against Colorado and Marshall, he collected 17 total tackles. Against the Buffaloes, Williams had an interception that he returned for 11 yards. Fans, coaches and teammates are all expecting him to post similar numbers over the entire 2009 campaign.

Of course, that's an easy expectation for those that don't have to actually perform. However, the brainy West Virginia native thinks that last year helped him in his mental outlook, which he believes will carry over to the field.

"[Last season] I think I learned a lot about the game," said Williams. "I learned to respect the game a lot more. I thought about what it had done for me. I think I'm taking this year a lot more seriously than I used to. Football isn't just a game to us, especially to me now."

Approaching a season in which the Mountaineer defense is receiving the majority of the preseason buzz, Williams has his share of praise for his offensive counterparts.

"It's a different era," said Williams. "Number 5 is not there anymore. It's exciting. We have number 16 taking over that role on offense and it's something he's been waiting for. I think some of us that have grown up around [Jarrett Brown] have been trying to see what he can do with the ball in his hands. I don't know what a year can do to a guy but I think [Noel Devine] has changed. He's a better player, better leader, just an all around better guy." "It's good to show up in seven on seven but hopefully it will continue throughout the year," he continued. "We're not quite hitting yet so [the offense] is still on that bubble out there. We will give them a few more weeks and then we will get down into it.

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