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Andre Williams is a paradigm shift for college football

Andre Williams, seen above rushing for 339 yards this past weekend against NC State, is a rare breed of RB these days. He has some Heisman talk to him, but probably isn’t a real threat for that since BC is 6-4. He will, however, achieve his goal of playing in a bowl game; BC locked that up when he ran for 339 last weekend (while Williams was going for 339, Cartel Brooks — great name — of Heidelberg University ran for 465 yards; the conventional top single-game for big-money college football is LT rushing for 406 while at TCU, which I embedded below because, eh, why not):

This is why Williams is important, though: right now he has 1,810 yards; the next closest guy has 1,439. It’s not reasonable to expect him to rush for 339 in their remaining games (at Maryland and at Syracuse), but it’s probably reasonable to expect 100 in each game, or a combination of 200 across the two somehow. Let’s say it’s an even 200; that gets him to 2,010 for the season, which would tie him for 18th (with Troy Davis) all-time in terms of single-season rush yards. But look at that list: aside from three strong RB performances in 2007 — Kevin Smith, Matt Forte and Ray Rice — and Donald Brown of UConn in 2008, that rushing list isn’t changing much. Now look at the top 18 for single-season passing: 10 of those are since 2007! Passing has undergone a legitimate revolution; the workhorse back has probably died alongside that. Even Wisconsin, a team with a massive reputation for running it down people’s throats, typically uses a 2-3 back approach every year in the last half-decade or so; Melvin Gordon and James White are both over 1K this year, but neither is sniffing the 1810 that Williams has.

This was a long road for Williams; dude was 44th at his position and 20th in-state via Rivals in the 2010 group. It looks like his other choices were Akron, Temple, and Vanderbilt (hey, one SEC school in there). The top of that 2010 class included Marcus Lattimore, Michael Dyer, Lache Seastrunk and Silas Redd; all have been impressive in spurts, and Dyer was a big reason Auburn won a BCS Title, but Williams has evolved to the point of standing in that group (counter-argument is that before this season, Williams had about 1,530 total yards in his career, so perhaps this is a one-season wonder situation). If that’s the case, it would make sense: this is Steve Addazio’s first year as the head coach, and Al Washington’s first year as the RB coach (after about seven years on staff). Those two adjustments could have completely shifted Williams’ mindset; he talks about that a little in this article.

Based on how the final 2-3 games go, there are probably four-five QBs who could hit 4,000 yards passing. There’s only one RB who has even a remote shot at hitting 2,000 yards rushing, and if he does, he’d be the first since 2008. The last time there was a 4,000-yard passer? Oh, nine dudes did that last year Williams is a paradigm shift; if you don’t appreciate the 6-4 Eagles for anything else, bask in that reflected glow. Oh, and they’ve made a believer out of “Herbie.”

And hey, he’s got Clinton Portis in his corner too (Portis himself never cleared 1,200 yards in a season; Williams did that by Week 8 this year).

Ted Bauer

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