By William Qualkinbush.
By William Qualkinbush
Many Clemson fans saw Mike Williams play in his first collegiate game last week against South Carolina State.
Except it wasn’t his first collegiate game.
Unbeknownst to the masses, Williams entered the game for one play against Georgia when starter Martavis Bryant tapped out on a running play.
“I had to go in and block,” Williams said, smiling with satisfaction as he added, “I did my job.”
The Clemson receiving corps was well-accounted for against both sets of Bulldogs, helping pace an aerial attack that has been a key cog in a 2-0 start for the Tigers. Now, after offensive guru Chad Morris explored his depth against South Carolina State, the Tiger wideouts could see an expanded role in the offense moving forward.
Days after the pass-catchers for the Tigers numbered double digits, the program received a blow when slot starter Charone Peake went down with an ACL injury that will sideline him for the remainder of 2013. The mettle of the Clemson receivers will certainly be tested going forward, and the extra experience gained by many in the team’s second game will serve the Tigers well.
Two key contributors going forward will likely be Adam Humphries—the presumed replacement for Peake—and Williams. The two attack the field in different ways: Humphries is utilized more on short and intermediate throws and screens, while Williams will be more of a field-stretcher used additionally to block on rushing downs.
Both players see the S.C. State game as a jumping-off point for solid seasons.
“It was just what was open for S.C. State,” Humphries said of his usage. “We came in saying we wanted to get all of our wide receivers a lot more reps than we did against Georgia, and we did. I think everybody touched the ball at least one time.”
“According to (wide receivers) coach (Jeff) Scott, I’m a great blocker,” Williams said. “On running plays, I can get up and make some key blocks. I can go for some deep balls when they need me.”
Humphries and Williams share some common traits that should serve the Tigers well as the season progresses. Both were multi-sports stars in high school who got to showcase natural athleticism in unique ways. Williams was especially adept at basketball, and he says his exposure to a different game helps him succeed in this one.
“When you’re blocking, you’re sliding and mirroring dudes,” Williams said. “I use that for my blocking drills. When you’re going up for a rebound, you’re going up and grabbing it. That helps me on deep ball situations.”
The schedule may be strange heading into a Thursday tilt with N.C. State after a bye week, but the goal remains the same. Humphries has confidence the staff will seek to utilize its variety of skill sets to full effect against the Wolfpack.
“Coach (Dabo) Swinney has a great plan in place,” he said. “If we just stick to it daily, we’ll be alright.”