Since he was coming in as a graduate transfer from South Carolina, running back Ty’Son Williams knew that he would have to earn every minute of playing time on the field.
But the articulate young man from Sumter, South Carolina, said that it was never going to be just about him being the guy for the BYU offense.
“It’s a two-way street,” Williams said. “You come in and there is a give-and-take. I’m coming in looking for playing time but I’m also giving out the knowledge that I’ve learned throughout my career. Hopefully once I’m gone the younger guys have learned not only from being out there but also gained some gems from us older guys that will put them in a better position to have success.”
He explained that he is sharing his understanding of making the right reads and knowing what is happening on the field.
“I was talking to one of the guys and said once you get adjusted and see things, just do your thing,” Williams said. “Put your foot in the ground. Don’t be afraid. I remember coming in as a freshman and it was a hard adjustment. Any way I can take what I’ve learned and help make their lives easier, I’m definitely going to do that. That’s how I was raised and I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t.”
Cougar running backs coach AJ Steward said that mindset from Williams and Rice transfer Emmanuel Esukpa is one that is benefiting everyone on his unit.
“They are who I thought they were,” Steward said. “We brought them in to fill a specific need and I think they are doing that right now. They are still integrating themselves and learning, since they are walking into a new offense. They put in a lot of work before we got to fall camp, so that’s very evident. They are taking coaching very well and getting better with every repetition. They are guys who are going to be reliable and do everything they can to help the football team, which is why they are here.”
In the first week of fall camp, Williams said the best part has been seeing the offense get some big gains.
“The best part is going out there offensively with the guys and having explosive plays,” Williams said. “That’s been the most fun to me. Coach (Jeff) Grimes said that in the couple practices we’ve had there has been the most explosive plays since he’s been here. I think that’s a pretty good thing.”
He acknowledged, however, that he has only been able to show some of his ability since there haven’t been opportunities to really break tackles to this point. He said he’s looking forward to showing it all when the season begins.
“I’ve had a couple of instances but practices are so limited because we want to take care of our guys,” Williams said. “But some guys are great in practice but not so great in the game. Some guys have a little more confidence in practice but it doesn’t translate to the game. You truly earn respect when game time gets here.”
Steward said he is seeing Williams and the others put in the work to lay the foundation to be successful when things really matter.
“They are working hard and that’s all I can ask for,” Steward said. “They are making mistakes but that’s why we have camp. They are learning from them and getting better. They are polishing up their game. They are leaving it all out here while getting better in the film room and in walkthroughs. Right now I’m very pleased with what I’m seeing.”
He credited the veterans for raising the expectations for everyone.
“I think everyone in our in our room who was here a year ago is at least a little better or as much as two or three times better than they were,” Steward said. “That’s why you want to bring in veteran guys. It’s not just how talented the room is. We have guys who set the standard. That brings everybody that much more along. What we are seeing is everyone rise to the competition and elevate their game.”
Right now it’s basically all about football for Williams but he is determined to not just assimilate smoothly with his BYU teammates on the gridiron. He’s planning on doing the same thing in the classroom.
“It’s graduate school now so I’ll see how much different graduate school is from being an undergraduate,” Williams said. “I’ve heard good things, that it is more concise, that you pick a certain interest and expand upon that. I look forward to it. I take school very seriously, so I’m going to put my best foot forward and learn.”
Williams and the rest of the running backs know they still have things to accomplish to be ready for the Aug. 29 season-opener against Utah. Steward said he wants them to develop into being as well-rounded as possible.
“I want us across the board to be reliable in the three phases of being a running back: run the football, catch the ball out of the backfield and block in the blocking game,” Steward said. “The more guys who can do that, the more reliable our room will be as a whole. If injuries come or no matter what presents itself, we’ll be ready for the next man to step up.”