As Texas Tech’s leading rusher, Kenny Williams already earned a reputation around the Red Raiders’ locker room as a proven play-maker and leader. Now, Williams is demonstrating his versatility by moving to defense and filling a void at the outside linebacker position.
With the departure of veteran outside linebacker Terrance Bullet, defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt has said he wants an impact player at the outside backer spot, also known as the “Raider position”.
The “Raider position” anchors the perimeter of Tech’s defense and requires an athlete with considerable size and speed.
The 5-foot-9, 225-pound senior may be the ideal fit. Williams’ athletic ability gives Tech’s defense a much-needed boost and provides it with extra leadership. Reportedly, Williams approached the coaches about the vacancy first, showing an eagerness to help the team in anyway possible.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury weighed in on his star running back’s unusual role change.
“It was more of a deal, wherever I can help the team, I will, that’s the type of player he is.” Kingsbury said, “Were gonna play him as much as we can, all over the field, hes that good of a football player.”
Kingsbury has made it clear that Williams will still get snaps at running back, the position in which he started every game in the 2013 season and rushed for 497 yards and eight touchdowns.
Williams, though, also seems to be picking up his new position quickly. Defensive coordinator Wallerstedt confirmed that Williams is in the mix for the starting job at the “Raider” spot.
Williams’ move to defense could benefit Tech’s other running backs, Deandre Washington and Quinton White, who can expect to see an increase in snaps and playing time.
Washington split carries with Williams in last year, rushing for 485 yards and four touchdowns. He is the next best option for the Red Raiders at running back. The junior from Houston has been taking the first team snaps all spring, with Williams in opposition.
Williams’ transition puts him in a unique class of players who are flexible and durable enough to play both ways. With Williams on the filed as much as possible, the Red Raiders should reap the benefit from his leadership and athleticism leading the attack on both sides of the ball.