Ken Whisenhunt knows a thing or two about using a big and tall wide receiver to his advantage against NFL secondaries.
When he was the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, he used Plaxico Burress to go up and get the ball. When he was the head coach at Arizona, he had Larry Fitzgerald making those red zone touchdowns.
Now as the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers, Whisenhunt has former Clemson star Mike Williams. The Chargers drafted Williams with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on April 27.
“That was exciting to find out we were able to add a player like that,” Whisenhunt said to Chargers.com, the team’s official web site. “Not only was his production in college good, but as (head coach Anthony Lynn) pointed, it came in big moments in big games.”
Williams was especially big in the national championship game against Alabama. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound receiver had 8 catches for 94 yards and one touchdown in the Tigers’ 35-31 win. On the Tigers’ last two drives of the game, he went up and grabbed one pass for 26 yards and then another for 24 yards. His touchdown came on a four-yard fade pass in the fourth quarter.
“When you see a young player who already has a penchant for doing that, and isn’t afraid of the lights and making those plays; it’s exciting,” Whisenhunt said. “He gives us versatility of having another big guy who can give problems to the defense.”
Williams gave defenses a lot of problems at Clemson. He had three 100-yard games in 2016, including 202 yards and a touchdown on 15 catches against Pittsburgh. He finished the season with 98 receptions for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“The NFL is different than college, so when looking at a player like Mike Williams, you don’t know how he is going to adapt to the pro game,” Whisenhunt said. “You don’t know exactly how you can use him. Can you use him inside? Can you use him outside? Can you move him? All those things go into putting together your red zone plan.
“That is an area we want to be more efficient with than we were last year. We weren’t awful, but not up to our standards for what we feel like we should be. Can Mike fit into that? We certainly think so just from the standpoint of how physical he is going for the ball. He attacks the catch.”
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