By Brandon Speck
Josh Williams is older, more teachable and more willing to learn than ever before.
Four years into his job as Aberdeen’s starting quarterback, the senior has developed into a very dangerous athlete.
As a sophomore, Williams threw for, 2,134 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He rushed for 684 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns. Missing time with a shoulder injury last season, he threw for 2,155 yards and 15 touchdowns. He rushed for another 695 yards and 12 touchdowns on 180 carries, all team-highs. He matched his 10 interceptions, but his QB rating rose 12 points to 100.
Good numbers – but as Williams admits, some of them came from a stubborn young man. That’s now in his rear view mirror.
“I’m more humble. I’m more humble and the guys that I used to play with that have already graduated, they’ve grown me into the person I am now,” Williams said. “I really thank them for that.”
Williams is a new quarterback, but first he had to become a new person.
Aberdeen coach Mark Bray, in his third season as head coach, was offensive coordinator when Williams was a freshman. Bray was honest, sometimes brutally, with his young quarterback in his first couple of seasons. He rode him hard. Williams has responded.
“I don’t have to say anything to him. He’s so coachable,” Bray said. “I don’t even chew on him anymore. He’s just grown up.”
Friday at Shannon, his growth continued. He ran for 78 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 18 carries, all team-highs. He threw for three more touchdowns, one scrambling and saved by a leaping Parish Cratic, a 25-yard score from the 35-yard line.
When top receiver Jerrick Orr returns from appendix surgery, the offense will be even more dangerous.
He is a lot older and a lot different.
“You’ve got to work hard. When you’re the type of guy that you’ve got a lot of people looking up to you, a lot of people depending on you, you’ve got to work twice as hard,” Williams said. “You’ve got to be that man that they can lean on when times are hard.
“I’m growing as a player every day, so it’s not over yet.”