BC report: Williams needs to step up his role at RB

It has been two years since we really saw Andre Williams.

It has been two years since we shook our head in amazement and saw the potential that the BC coaching staff saw when he came out of the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania as a 6-foot-0 inch, 220 pound running back with size, speed and, most of all potential.

It has been two years since that day at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse when Williams ran.

Ran some more and then ran some more. He carried the ball 42 times, gained what is still a career best 185 yards.

He was only a freshman and the immediate future of the Boston College running game seemed secure.

It continued in the season-opener last season against Northwestern, 114 yards in 22 carries and a pair of TDs, including a highlight-film 69-yard sprint.

And then….

Injuries, losses, the system?

Slowly the image stared to fade. At the end of the year he was almost invisible.  Three carries for minus 1 yard against Notre Dame Thirteen carries for 57 yards against Miami.

Was he healthy? Or wasn’t he?

What happened? Where did Andre Williams go as newcomers such as Duece Finch and Tajh Kimble moved into the role that became even more wide open when Montel Harris, the all time leading rusher in BC history, was dismissed from the team last spring?

Kimble and Finch have been hurt during summer camp drills which moved forward again on Sunday with a situational scrimmage–the next to last in camp–designed to get the Eagles into more of a game-type frame of mind.

For Williams, it is time to move back to the main stage. Or was it.  In Sunday’s scrimmage he was in full pads and on the sidelines, which is where he started his career at BC three years ago.

“”Coaches decision,” said BC coach Frank Spaziani with a smile. “We’ve got guys hurt and…”Last man standing. You’ve got running backs hurt. He’s been practicing well.  We just kept him out.”

Spaziani thinks that Williams can be the man at RB.  Or at least one of the men the Eagles need.

“”We need Andre to play like he did as a freshman,” said Spaziani. “Last year he had a little set back as far as performance goes. He’s looked like the Andre of old in practice.”

Williams says he feels like the Andre of old.

“”My freshman year of high school one of coaches said, you’ve got to make sure you are not resting on your laurels,” said Williams. “Don’t always look to the past. You’ve got to keep looking forward.  I keep hearing the Syracuse game, the Syracuse game. That definitely set the pattern for myself. I think I have to keep climbing the stairs this year to reach the next level.”

Last year? “”It was frustrating,” he said. “I had a really good camp and the last scrimmage in the camp, I messed up my ankle.  And then injuries kind of messed me up the whole year. I ended up spraining the other ankle. And then I had an abdominal injury and couldn’t get rolling. But this year, I felt like I came into my own.

“The offense I feel like I’ve got it down pat. I feel like I’m ready to do something different this year. I think this year is going to be a big year. The offense looks like it is clicking. Everybody seems like they have grown up a little bit.  We’re ready to take it in a different direction.”

As a freshman, he had 517 yards in 124 carries, but almost a third of that total came in the Syracuse game. Last year, he carried only 95 times while gaining 461 yards.

He needs to at least double that amount this year. Maybe triple it.

He has to become the main back, the back of the present as well as the future.

Is he ready for that role?

In his first two scrimmages this summer, Williams had 11 carries for 43 yards and 3 TDs. Not great. Not bad.

On Sunday, Williams was not working with the first team.  With Kimble and Finch hurt, the starting role went to 5-7, 175 pound sophomore Mike Javorsk.

If BC is going to reverse its course from last season’s 4-8 tumble, Williams will have to return to form.

He says is ready.


Wide receiver Bobby Swigert made his first scrimmage appearance of camp and freshman tight end Mike Giacone (concussion) was cleared to play as well…Eagles ran 5 situations on Sunday. Two coming from behind, two when the game was tied and one when they were ahead. The Eagles and QB Chase Rettig held the lead in the first situation, but in the second in which they trailed 28-21 with 3:17 remaining, a drive which started at their own 35 was halted when a Rettig pass was picked off by sophomore DB Manny Asprilla. A last second attempt was halted by another pick…. Final scrimmage will be on Wednesday afternoon…Training camp will break on Thursday as players move back into their dorms…Freshman WR Harrison Jackson continues to make progress in training camp and could make it into the WR rotation…Senior punter Gerald Levano was spectacular with long, booming, hang-time punts all afternoon…Rettig completed a 29 yard TD pass to Alex Amidon in a situation in which the Eagles trailed 28-17 with 4:01 remaining, but their clock ran out before Rettig could get another chance….In the tie situation, Nate Freese booted a 40 yard goal (6 for six in pre-season) to give the second team offense a 3 point lead with 1:36 left. Rettig’s attempt to tie it failed after taking the first team to the 45… Amidon, who is having a great training camp, led the receivers with 7 catches for 82 yards and the TD.

© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.

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