Williams familiar with new Panthers offense

Running back DeAngelo Williams is excited about Carolina's new offensive scheme. "I was like, 'Yeah! Oh yeah, yeah, yeaaaah!" Williams said when he saw new coordinator Jeff Davidson's playbook. What Williams saw inside was obviously to his liking.

He'd read that Davidson would implementing a zone blocking scheme on offense and be running more screen plays than in past years, but was a little hesitant to believe it until he saw the playbook. When he saw the plays, he couldn't contain his enthusiasm.

"I'm excited about the offense altogether because it's identical to the offense we ran in Memphis," Williams said. "We threw a lot of screen passes to the running backs and we ran the outside and inside zone plays. We did the one-back power, things like that. It's just like the offense at Memphis, but with some different terminology."

If Williams produces anything like he did in college, that's good news for the Panthers.

Williams finished his four-year career at Memphis as the NCAA Division 1-A leader with 7,573 all-purpose yards, breaking the previous mark of 7,206 held by Ricky Williams of Texas. He gained more than 6,000 yards on the ground, a feat accomplished only by three others backs -- Tony Dorsett, Ron Dayne and Ricky Williams.

He also put up an NCAA-record 34 100-yard games during his career, all of which prompted the Panthers to select him in the first round of the 2006 NFL draft.

Williams ran for 501 yards as a rookie last year, averaging 4.1 yards per carry and had 33 catches for 313 yards and scored two touchdowns last season under former offensive coordinator Dan Henning.

Williams is expected to again split time with DeShaun Foster in the backfield this year, but it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility that he could take over as the starter this season if he excels in this familiar offense.

The zone-blocking scheme, in particular, has Williams excited because it allows him to use his vision to pick a hole. The Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos have both had great success with the scheme over the years and more than a dozen teams have already switched to it. Carolina made the switch, according to head coach John Fox, not because of Williams or Foster, but to better utilize their athleticism on the offensive line.

"If you look at it, this is what the entire NFL is shifting to because the backs that are coming out of college are accustomed to it," Williams said. "The colleges are teaching it to the kids at a younger age."

Williams believes the new blocking scheme is a no-lose situation for him.

"The fact that no matter what the defense does, they're wrong," Williams said. "In a zone-blocking scheme, what it all boils down to is you pick your own hole.

"It's more so vision than quickness because if you can't see the hole you can't get there no matter what you do. It basically boils down to your vision. It opens the field up a lot, too. If they are worried about someone with the ball and what hole they are going to choose ... It's like chess, if you choose the wrong hole, it's checkmate."


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