Friday, September 27, 2013
Q&A: Boston College RB Andre Williams
By Jack McCluskey Special to ESPN.com
NEWTON, Mass. -- Through three weeks, Andre Williams leads the ACC in rushing yards (118.67) and attempts (25) per game.
The yardage total might be skewed by the 204-yard performance against Wake Forest in Week 2, but the attempt average is real.
Andre Williams has carried a heavy load in the Boston College backfield in 2013.
Williams is Boston College’s workhorse. If anyone suffered doubts as to whether Steve Addazio believes in a power run game, all they’d need to do is check the box score from BC’s first three games to be cured of them. Here are Williams’ carry totals: 23, 35, 17.
Only Virginia Tech’s Trey Edmunds has more carries than Williams in the ACC, and he’s played four games to Williams’ three.
Coming off his least productive game of the season, the 17-carry, 38-yard outing against USC, Williams figures to be a big part of the Eagles’ game plan against No. 8 Florida State on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN2).
ESPN Boston caught up with Williams after practice on Monday:
First of all, how are you feeling coming off the bye week?
Andre Williams: I feel great. It was good to have a little bit of a rest to just get our bearings and get as many people back as we can for Florida State this week.
What did the week off do for you as a team?
AW: It just really gave us an extra week to prepare. There’s so much film out there; you can only watch so much film, but with an extra week you can really get into your film study, really just game plan properly and make sure that you’ve done everything possible that you can to prepare for the game.
Did you spend any extra time reviewing the USC game?
AW: Yeah, we definitely looked at the USC game and saw where our errors were. And it really just helped us look at who we are as a team and what we’re good at. We really just were trying to harp on getting better at the things we do well.
So what were you working on last week?
AW: As a team, just being able to execute better. Leaders being able to find ways to energize the team. Momentum is a huge part of college football and we just talked about being able to fight the tide and make your own momentum. So when it is third down and you’re away, you’re not in your own stadium, and the crowd is really playing against you, how do you get in the mindset that, you know, we’re gonna make this first down? We really just gotta get better at executing.
Do you think playing at USC in your first road game will help down the road?
AW: I think it was a great opportunity. Obviously we didn’t come away with the outcome we wanted, but I think we definitely learned from it. Being in a huge stadium like that, the stadium wasn’t even full but it was still so loud sometimes it was hard to hear what Chase [Rettig] was saying even when I was right next to him. It’s a different environment when you’re in some place and the people around you don’t want you there. They don’t want you to succeed, and that’s when you really have to bow up as a team and understand that if you’re trying to get things done, the only people that are gonna help you are the people right next to you.
Did the loss at USC dampen the mood of the team?
AW: It’s only the third game of the season, and I don’t think any one game really defines your season. And it’s hard to win a game, so we just had to go back to work last week and get ready to win the next one.
Did you get a chance to watch any of the Florida State game?
AW: I watched a lot of games on Saturday, but I didn’t catch their game, though. I just have been watching tape; I saw their games against Pitt and against Nevada.
What are your impressions of the Seminoles?
AW: They’re a good team. They have some good players. Their defense is a little bit different than it has been in years past. But it’s the same type of guys, and it’s my fourth year out here and I’m sure I know what to expect on Saturday.
The Seminoles put up 54 points last week; does that put extra pressure on the BC offense this week?
AW: I don’t think it necessarily means anything to us that they put 50 points up on other people because we’re a different team. I think we have a dominant, aggressive defense and we’re going to be able to pressure them in ways other teams don’t. And on offense the emphasis is really being able to control the clock and run the football.
So do you expect to get the ball a lot and try to grind it out against this team?
AW: Yeah. I mean, I’m not a coach, but the way I see it, it’s gonna be on the offense to be able to control the clock and keep the defense off the field. To keep their team deflated and make sure we control the momentum of the game. That’s gonna be a big component to the victory.
FSU is tied for third nationally in scoring defense, allowing only 8.7 points per game. Do you think this offense can score on the Noles?
AW: Absolutely. Football is football, and everybody has guys that can excel on a certain part of the field. They have a good defense, but like I said, I’ve played this team before, I’ve played these players before and we’ve had success in the past and I think that we’re an even better team this year, so I think we can have even more success.
As it stands now, BC faces top-10 teams in two of the next three weeks. Is that daunting?
AW: I think it’s exciting. That’s the whole reason I came to BC, was to play in the ACC. I think this is one of the best conferences in the country and I’m excited when there’s talent across the field. That’s what competition is about. If you’re playing somebody that you know doesn’t really have a good chance against you, it doesn’t motivate you. There’s no real fire. And most of the time, your talent can bring you home against teams like that. But when you have to work and execute and compete at a high level, it really says something about you as a team and as an athlete.
So would it mean more to you to beat a top 10 team like this?
AW: I think it means more to beat FSU than it would to say beat Villanova or Wake Forest. A win is a win, but this is a top-10 team. That’s just gonna boost your morale, boost your confidence and it’s just … if we can pull out a win like this, there’s no reason that we shouldn’t meet our goal of getting to a bowl game because if we can beat FSU, we can beat anybody on the schedule.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.