"It's been a short five years," admitted Williams. "Looking back on it, the time has flown by. We have gotten really close together, the guys that we have had here. Luckily, we haven't lost too many of them. Ovid [Goulbourne], [Zach] Cooper and I have been together since the beginning. Pat [Lazear], J.T. [Thomas] and Anthony [Leonard] have been right along with us. It's a close knit group. We really enjoy playing with each other. Luckily, we have gained some success. We vibe off each other and just have fun with the game."
After suffering a tough loss to Cincinnati, the Mountaineers pulled together as they had hoped to for the entire season. As Williams has been saying after every game, everything had seemed to finally "click." The Mountaineers were able, with a lot of help from the defense, to end a season that could have slid steeply downhill on a high note with big victories over Pittsburgh and Rutgers.
"We lost some games that we thought we should have won," said Williams. "Anytime you go 9-3, you're a little bit disappointed. We have expectations here to win every game. When we don't, we're going to be upset with ourselves. We finished strong the last few games. We're getting our confidence back, getting our swagger back. We're excited to play in this bowl game."
Williams will officially end his career as a Mountaineer on Jan. 1 when West Virginia competes against the Florida State Seminoles in the Gator Bowl. The game will be familiar territory for some Mountaineers. WVU and FSU faced each other in the Gator Bowl just four years ago in 2005, and the Gold and Blue also defeated Georgia Tech in the 2007 edition of the game. West Virginia will also be meeting up with a number of their former coaches when they take on former WVU head Coach Bobby Bowden in the final game of his coaching career. They will also go up against West Virginia's former offensive line Coach Rick Trickett.
"It's kind of cute isn't it," Williams said with a smile. "I guess [Bowden] is finishing where he started, kind of. Coach Bowden has had a tremendous career of coaching in college football and I congratulate him for it. It's an honor to be playing in his last game."
Despite the strong finish to their regular season, Williams recognizes that the Mountaineers have a lot to work on during their extended break between games.
"Obviously, when you're playing any team from Florida, they're going to be talented, especially speed wise," said Williams. "We're going to have to be ready. We haven't gotten on the film quite yet. We have been concentrating on academics. I've heard some things they have some skilled players and with Trickett coaching the offensive line they're going to be tough up front. We're going to have some things that we're going to need to get taken care of before we get ready for the Seminoles."