UK Football: Depth at running back motivates former walk-on Williams
CoShik Williams shows his speed as he breaks away from the defense during last year's 10-7 win by Kentucky over Tennessee. (Chet White/ University of Kentucky / August 26, 2012)
Williams led UK¿with 486 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 118 carries last season in nine games, including 148 yards against Jacksonville State and 111 yards against Mississippi.
“I feel good about how our offense is going and feel that we have bonded way better than last year. We are feeling strong, feeling good,” said Williams. “I¿feel like at any point in time, a running back can be in and doing the same thing the back that’s out can do.
“We are all fast, we are all strong and we all know what is going on. We can read our blocks good, so when the blitz comes we know we have to pick them up. It feels good to have good depth at running back.”
Williams, who is back at full speed after being limited briefly by a sprained foot, offered these other insights on UK’s season and his play:
Question: Do you like having so much depth at running back to push you?
Williams: “Yes. It’s always good to have a group of guys pushing you. If you don’t, you are just going to knock off after practice or not going to go full speed all the time if you don’t feel that pressure. That just motivates you to go harder, go faster, make your blocks better.”
Question: Why do all the running backs get along so well despite the competition for playing time?
Williams: “Even outside of football, me, Jonathan (George) Ray-Ray (Sanders), (Dyshawn) Mobley and even Justin Taylor, we all have a good friendship. If we go out to a party, we are all going to be together. We are calling each other. If somebody is not waking up to go to practice, one of us is going to be the one to go to the house and pick them up. We all try to be close and have a good friendship.”
Question: With so much hype about Mobley and Taylor, do you feel a bit under appreciated going into the season as the starter and feel like you have to prove yourself again?
Williams: “It’s always going to be like that. I feel like that I have to prove a lot of things. That is why I go so hard and why I don’t want to wear a red jersey (because he’s injured) in practice. I try to get out of that red jersey as quick as I can and try to get back on the field. I¿don’t like sitting out and not practicing. As quick as I can, I will heal and try to get out there. I¿know there are a lot of things I¿have to prove, so I try to work hard and learn all my plays and my responsibilities on the field that I¿have to do because there are always going to be pressure behind my back.
“But that motivates me. I love having the pressure because it makes me work harder. It makes my job harder, but if the job was easy it would not be a good job. I like working hard because I know the young guys behind me are working. I don’t like sitting around and not working.”
Question: Because you got your chance when others were hurt, does that motivate you not to miss practice now?
Williams: “Somebody could be taking somebody’s position at all times. When guys go down, somebody has to step up. When somebody is in a red jersey, somebody has to step up. That’s why I want to get back quick and be with my team.”
Question: Do you think much about going from an unknown walk-on player to starting tailback?
Williams: “To me, it is just a huge accomplishment for me and my family to come here as a walk-on and work so hard and get so much accomplished. I am blessed to say I got an opportunity to play here at the University of Kentucky and opportunity to be a starting running back. It has been great chance for me to show people what I¿can do.
“I like it when people say I am too small because that makes me want to go out there and play like Brandon Jacobs (of the New York Giants) and try to run harder than what I¿am.”
Question: Are you trying to be more of a vocal leader this season?
Williams: “Yes. At practice and before practice, I try to keep our guys motivated. A lot of guys listen to me, especially being a fifth-year senior.¿I have seen this program go from up to down and I¿know how everything works. I try to tell those guys what it takes for us to be good and how hard we have to run in practice for us to be fast in games. I try to keep everybody motivated and going when I¿get an opportunity to talk to everybody.”
Question: Who has enjoyed you being No. 1 on the depth chart more, you or your mom?
Williams: “I think my family is more excited than I¿am. It still hasn’t really hit me how I¿came up. I¿am still kind of in shock, but I¿am going to keep on working for my family, the team, this university and the faculty and staff. I want to prove to everybody I can be No. 1.”
Question: Would you agree that your mom and sister both had a little swagger just watching you run No. 1 in the scrimmage?
Williams: “They are pretty proud. I am the baby boy and being the only boy to go to college out of family, they get to see me play SEC football and get an opportunity to start. My mom is real excited and happy and she praises me as much as she can when she’s at work. She loves it.”