John Williams: A Change Of Positions And A Star All In One Game

Oct. 22, 2009

LAWRENCE, Kan. — If you would have asked Kansas redshirt freshman John Williams what position he played a week ago, he would have answered offensive lineman, but after Saturday’s game his answer has suddenly changed to defensive lineman.

Williams was not only switched to the defensive side of the ball in Kansas’s game against Colorado, but also was given the opportunity to start for the first time in his career.

“We have tried to put our most athletic guys and our guys that can play a physical style of ball on the defensive line and we have tried to recruit that way,” said Head Coach Mark Mangino.

Even though the No. 24 ranked Jayhawks fell to Colorado, Williams still had his opportunity to make his impact on the football field.

“I like defensive a lot and when they told me I had a chance to be part of the defensive line I jumped to it,” Williams said.

He helped KU hold Colorado to 322 yards of total offense, which were the fewest yards by a Jayhawk opponent in the last four games.

“We recruited Williams to be a defensive tackle and then his freshman year he had an injury that kept him out the whole year,” Mangino, said. “We thought he would be better suited at the offensive line to take some pressure of the injury he had suffered. He was doing well in the offensive line, but I kept seeing him as a defensive lineman. The more I watched him at practice the more I kept saying this guy is a defensive lineman because he has quickness, explosion, a low center of gravity and he plays the game with power in his lower body. He can jump the ball and he is extremely quick for a guy his size. I finally just pulled the trigger and said were going to do it. There is no question he will help us on the defensive line. He is pretty talented. “

This change was sudden for Williams, but he had good experience playing on the defensive line from high school.

“My switch from offense to defense wasn’t too bad,” Williams said. “I just had to refocus myself to learn defense instead of offense. It was a fun experience though.”

Williams had been practicing with defensive for about a week before he started in the Colorado game. It was not a lot of time to prepare, but Williams saw this as an opportunity.

“I feel more comfortable on the defensive side,” Williams said. “I think I have more to work for now because I am able to start and to play to really help the team.”

The size and strength that Williams can utilize on the field will no doubt help stop future offenses.

“We are trying to keep getting better guys on the field,” said KU Defensive Coordinator Clint Bowen. “Williams is a big physical person who can move and he wasn’t getting any plays on the offensive line. We had a guy who is a Big 12 caliber player standing on the sideline and it just didn’t make sense. You have to get kids on the field who will help you.”

Williams’ focus right now is on Saturday’s game against Oklahoma and he has a game plan for every time he steps on the field.

“Every time I go out there, it doesn’t matter if I am on the offensive line or on the defensive line”, Williams said. “I just want to dominate my man.”

Look for Williams to be making plays on the defensive line Saturday at 2:30 p.m. when the Jayhawks take on Oklahoma at Memorial Stadium.

“We had a loss and now we need to go out and try to get a win,” Williams said.