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Williams Adapting to Changes

New Hilltopper defensive lineman adapting to changes

By ROB HERBST
Associated Press

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Defensive lineman Daniel Williams has dealt with plenty of change since arriving at Western Kentucky last winter.

Off the football field, Williams had to cope with the death of his father and a new environment. Before coming to WKU, Williams had a more structured environment at Georgia Military College.

On the football field, Williams has adapted to a changed body and position change. He estimates he weighed 230 pounds on his first day at WKU, but is now listed at 265 pounds. He was a defensive end at Georgia Military, but plays nose tackle for the Hilltoppers.

But the changes haven\’t hampered him. The junior from Baxley, Ga., made an immediate impact during spring practice and has been tabbed as Western\’s first-string nose tackle during preseason workouts this month.

\”He\’s been one of the most positive additions we\’ve made since I\’ve been here,\” said WKU coach David Elson, who was a seven-year Western assistant before taking the head coaching position last year. \”He\’s fit in right away and is just a great kid to have on the team.\”

Williams attended Georgia Military with the intent of graduating to an NCAA Division I-A or I-AA football program. Those offers came last winter and he considered I-A schools Louisiana Tech and Louisville, plus Western and fellow I-AA program Appalachian State.

One factor in Western\’s favor was its defense. The Hilltoppers run a similar 3-4 defense that Georgia Military uses, so Williams wouldn\’t have to learn a new system.

\”Since I didn\’t have to change my way of playing, it was all kind of easy for me,\” Williams said.

Williams was familiar with Western\’s system, but not his position. Instead of being a not-so-large defensive end, the Hilltoppers wanted Williams to be an anchor at nose tackle.

Gaining extra weight wasn\’t a challenge: \”I just ate at (Downing University Center) every day.\”

The shift on the defensive line was an adjustment.

\”There\’s a lot more double teams,\” Williams said. \”It\’s different, but I feel like I can play anywhere on the line. If they need me to play defensive end, I\’ll do it.\”

While he has gained weight and is one of Westerns bigger defensive lineman over the past few years, he hasn\’t lost quickness.

The combination of size and speed has made him a challenge for Western\’s offensive linemen during camp this month.

\”Our offensive linemen have brought it up to me that he\’s so quick,\” Elson said. \”He\’s quick and powerful.\”