ECU big man has big impactPublished 9:02pm Wednesday, April 17, 2013
GREENVILLE — East Carolina’s first-year defensive coordinator Rick Smith is not known for sugarcoating, but when asked about rising junior nose tackle Terry Williams he couldn’t resist a little sweet talk.
“I think Terry Williams is special,” Smith said. “I think he’s got a chance to be a dominating nose tackle in this league. He had a good scrimmage last week. I’m very excited about Terry Williams, he just needs to understand that he has to do it every play. He can’t take a play off. No matter how good we tell him he is he’s only as good as his last play.”
“I’m just trying to make myself better than last year,” Williams said Saturday after the team’s second scrimmage of the spring practice period. “I want to get better at everything I do: tackles for a loss, pass breakups, everything.”
Though he’s listed at a generous 6-1, 327 pounds, the stout Williams burst on to the scene last year starting nine of the 11 games he played in and racked up 46 tackles, one sack and a team second-best 5.5 tackles for a loss.
Williams’ greatest strength is his ability to get under opposing offensive linemen’s pads and drive them back with an awesome blend of power and quickness.
“He’s so powerful, and he’s short and that helps his leverage,” Smith said. “He can stand up centers and he does a great job with his hands. I’m very pleased with him. I think he has a chance to be very special.”
Though he views himself as more of a run-stuffing tackle, Williams can also penetrate the offensive backfield and once he gets past his blocker or blockers he has enough speed to chase down QBs thanks to his days of playing linebacker at Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga.
“His size is deceiving. He’s very quick,” ECU head coach Ruffin McNeill said. “Terry was a standout linebacker in high school. He was one of the top linebackers I’ve seen on film and he still has that linebacker athleticism.”
That athleticism allowed the McNeill to feel comfortable enough to move standout NT Michael Brooks to end in favor of Williams last season.
“I felt that has a big vote of confidence,” Williams said. “It means the coaches trust me and I wanted to let them know they could.”
Williams is also confident in his teammates and feels this year could be a special one.
“I really like our team. I feel like we can win a conference championship,” Williams said. “It’s our last year in Conference USA so it would be a good way to go out.”