TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Karlos Williams has become a significant cog in Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher's fifth-ranked scoring offense in the FBS. Impressive, considering two weeks ago Williams was holding onto dreams of being a defensive star.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Karlos Williams has become a significant cog in Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher's fifth-ranked scoring offense in the FBS.
Impressive, considering two weeks ago Williams was holding onto dreams of being a defensive star.
Williams switched to offense after the season-opener against Pittsburgh and has rushed for 193 yards and a team-high 11.4 yards per carry in two games. His yards per carry average is ranked No. 7 in FBS and only UNLV running back Shaquille Murray-Lawrence and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon have more carries amongst the six ranked higher.
He's helped the No. 8 Seminoles (3-0, 1-0) average 52.3 points per game. Williams has added another dimension to a backfield that already featured two Doak Walker award candidates — Devonta Freman and James Wilder, Jr.
Williams hasn't had a first-half attempt yet, but Fisher said that will change after he ran for 83 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries against Bethune-Cookman.
"I called some things on purpose to see how he would handle it," Fisher said. "And he handled the adjustments, pass protection ... and different things extremely well. You're starting to feel very comfortable you can just play him at any time.
"He's a size-speed guy that can stick his foot in the ground and accelerate very quickly."
Williams has shown all the qualities desired in a big-time running back.
He has more than enough strength in a 6-foot-1, 223-pound frame. He has the top-end speed to rival just about anyone on the FSU roster. The most desirable trait might be Williams' ability to hit the hole with reckless abandon, but with the patience to let the play develop.
All this from someone Fisher had to convince to try offense for the first time since high school.
"It's no regret there," Williams said. "I was a young kid, and still a young kid now, but it's part of maturing. I wasn't really sure about it. Kind of nervous. I'd been a safety all my life. Got recruited as a safety. Was a safety here under (former defensive coordinator Mark) Stoops and now under coach (Jeremy) Pruitt. I wanted to stay there."
If Williams gets more time on the field, however, someone has to lose touches. Freeman has rushed for 100-plus yards in each of the last two games and is the clear-cut, go-to runner. Wilder, Jr. has run for 34 fewer yards than Williams despite the benefit of seven more carries and an extra game.
Fisher doesn't believe that will be an issue.
"I've always had three guys wherever I've ever been. LSU days and all that," Fisher said. "It takes that. People don't understand the pounding running backs take. And then the style of a particular play or what play you're featuring that week. Each guy's strengths and who can block.
"You feature what each of them does best, but all of them will get their touches."
Chris Thompson, Freeman and Wilder, Jr. all rushed for more than 600 yards in 2012, so that balance is attainable. But Wilder, Jr. has not shown the same explosiveness as Williams the last two games. Few would be shocked if Williams becomes the No. 2 back.
When asked he gains confidence with every touch, Williams said without hesitation, "Of course, any running back does."
He said FSU backs "try to take those two to three-yard gains and if you keep getting those eventually you are going to bust open and get a big gain."
That has not been a problem. Williams hasn't had more than six consecutive rushes without one going for 15-plus yards. His first career carry was a 65-yard touchdown against Nevada. He added a 24-yarder against the Wolf Pack and 35 and 19-yard gains against Bethune-Cookman.
The Seminoles play at ACC rival Boston College (2-1, 1-0) on Saturday