Spring Football Profile -- Aric Williams
April 23, 2003
Corvallis, Ore. - He's served his apprenticeship for three years, now he's ready to make his mark in the Pac-10 Conference.
For junior Aric Williams, being in the starting role won't be new - he has two starts for his career. What will be new is the added pressure of being a full-time starter. Williams is bound to be tested in early season games by opponents who feel the program's losses in the secondary are insurmountable.
Williams came to OSU from Diamond Bar High School in Los Angeles, where among his athletic achievements, he excelled in the classroom. Williams' prep career included football, basketball, and track. He played wide receiver and cornerback, and earned All-Sierra League status on defense as a senior.
The following is a question and answer with Aric after a recent spring practice:
Q. Does the fact that you once played wide receiver, help you in anyway as a defensive back?
A. 'It helps a little, especially since I still have somewhat of an offensive mentality. Some receivers will tip off what the play is, when they are going to break, or when they are going deep.'
Q. You have played both left and right cornerback, are there significant differences?
A. 'There is a big difference in terms of footing, you have to get your feet set differently. I feel more comfortable on the left side, but I'm not completely sure why.'
A. 'They taught me to be patient, let things happen and then react, and to not get beat deep. I played with those guys for three years, so they were a great asset for me learning at this level.'
Q. How much has having a position coach with the experience that Darryll Lewis has assisted you?
A. 'He has helped me a lot, I really look up to him. I know about his background and I respect the experience he has. He has helped me improve my footwork, and also stressed to be patient and let the receiver come to me.'
Q. Playing cornerback is one of the loneliest positions on the team, what has made you successful in a position where everybody knows when you have been beat on a play?
A. 'There is a lot of pressure, because we our on an island. We are one-on-one most of the time, and we can't slip, fall, or make a mistake of any kind because it's pretty obvious when we do make an error. The linebackers back up the lineman, the defensive backs can help the linebackers, but we are the last lines of the defense - we can't afford to make a mistake. Playing cornerback is a real challenge.'
Q. You battle our receivers everyday - how would you rate them as compared to other teams in the league?
A. 'James Newson is the best receiver in the Pac-10. I feel if I can compete with him everyday that I should be able to hold my own with the rest of the receivers in this conference.'
Q. Is it easier for a cornerback to play on artificial turf or grass?
A. 'Grass. It levels the playing field some, because the receivers can't make cuts as quick and it's easier to correct a mistake.'
Q. How much will you be involved in special teams this fall?
A. 'I'm on the depth chart as a punt returner, but I'm not the number one guy. I want to be the returner, it's something I enjoy.'
Q. How close are you to receiving your degree in art, and how would you like to apply that degree?
A. 'My emphasis is on graphic design. I wanted to be a cartoonist, but we lack some animation courses here, so I'm working on mainline graphic design things. I did have a cartoon strip when I was younger.'
Q. What do you like to do off the field, when given a chance?
A. 'I like to be with my teammates. We watch movies, play video games, just hang out together.'