The message new Boston College coach Steve Addazio has delivered from the moment he met his players has not wavered: he wants to be a physical team with a power run game.
Andre Williams' ears perked up. Power run game? He can do that.
With the departure of Rolandan Finch, Williams has emerged as the No. 1 option at running back for the Eagles this spring. After the team's scrimmage last weekend, Addazio called Williams a "real power back," and described him as strong and powerful. Williams stands 6 feet, weighs 220 pounds and has come to embrace his new role.
"In previous years, I feel like I've been working on maybe being more of a finesse back," Williams told ESPN.com in a recent phone conversation. "I played behind Montel Harris, and he really inspired me in certain ways, but this year I realized I'm a different type of runner, and I accepted that and I’m really trying to play to my strength this year. The fact the offense is the way it is now, we have a lot of power in there, and it really suits my strengths."
Interestingly enough, Harris just finished his senior season playing for Addazio at Temple in 2012 after transferring from BC. So Williams called Harris for some advice.
"He told me Coach Addazio has a different way of coaching," Williams said. "He could be strict or stern at times, but we're going to be fresh for the games. I could definitely see Coach Addazio has a way of making practice less about physicality and more about mental toughness. It's still a physical day out there, but I don't feel like we're trying to beat a dead horse on certain issues. It's more trying to prepare ourselves mentally to put ourselves in game situations rather than memorize a certain play or anything like that."
Boston College struggled to run the ball last season, ranking No. 115 in the nation in rushing (90.9 yards per game). Some of that is a function of the Eagles trailing in many games. But the bottom line is they simply could gain no consistency with their backs or their offensive line. Williams had a few 100-yard games last year, but calls last season "nothing to hang my hat on. I'm really just putting everything last season behind me and starting fresh on this year."
So with the emphasis on the run game, can Williams get to 1,000 yards for the first time in his career -- in the final season of his career?
"Absolutely, I think I can get 1,000 yards," he said. "If I don't get 1,000 yards, I'll be really disappointed. I'm confident, I have no doubt in my mind, I'm going to get to 1,000 yards this year."