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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Andre Williams starting from the bottom

By Mike Mazzeo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Andre Williams was the featured back at Boston College. As a senior, he rushed for an NCAA-leading 2,177 yards along with 18 touchdowns on 355 carries.

That won’t be the case with the New York Giants.

If the 21-year-old rookie, who was selected by the Giants in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft, ever wants to be a featured back in the NFL, he’s going to have to earn it -- and Williams knows that.

“I’m just looking to contribute in any way that I can, continue to do well in practice and build faith with the coaches so they can put me on the field,” Williams said Wednesday.

Andre Williams
The NCAA's leading rusher in 2013, Andre Williams must get used to a reduced role with the Giants.
In the offseason, the Giants overhauled their backfield. They gave Rashad Jennings a four-year, $10 million contract to be their No. 1 rusher for 2014. But Jennings is going to need some plays off. And that’s where guys like David Wilson and Williams come in.

During training camp, Williams has been in with the starters in goal-line packages. He’s also lined up on special teams.

“He’s become more than a [straight-ahead runner],” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “He was not used that way at B.C.”

Williams, who Coughlin called “a high-conditioned, powerful athlete,” is looking to improve on his pass-catching and blocking techniques. Those are areas in which he must make strides if he’s going to gain the trust of Coughlin and the coaching staff.

Williams has tried to learn from the veteran running backs on the team. He’s looking forward to seeing some lanes open up.

“In college, being the workhorse at Boston College, every time I lined up I’d see eight or nine bodies in the box. Now, sometimes I’m coming out and there’s only five or six, so that’s definitely a positive,” he said.

Running backs coach Craig Johnson said he likes what he’s seen from Williams thus far.

“We are going to do drills all the time, and he’s coming along. He is big, strong and physical, and that is what you are looking for,” Williams said. “We just have to continue to practice the technique because it is not ever the same in practices and in the game. We are trying to make that as close as possible.”

Williams knows making the transition to the speed of the NFL game is going to be a challenge, but he’s ready for it.

After all, when asked if he would be able to excel in a goal-line role, Williams responded, “Absolutely. As long as it’s running the ball, I think I can excel.”