Karlos Williams impressing after switch from DB to RB
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jimbo Fisher said that running back was the easiest position on the field to learn.
And just a few weeks into his new job, Florida State's Karlos Williams is making the transition from safety to tailback look all too easy.
Williams has run for 193 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns in just two games. The junior went untouched for a 65-yard touchdown run on his first college carry against Nevada, giving him a 110 rushing yards in his debut.
Against Bethune-Cookman on Saturday, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Williams ran for 83 yards and had two touchdowns.
"He's a size, speed guy that can stick his foot in the ground and go North-South and accelerate very quickly," Fisher said. "A lot of guys have top-end speed, he has great acceleration. Which creates power."
He has shown that power on special teams, racing down the field at sprinter speed to make tackles. And on defense, he showed flashes of his talent. Williams had 32 tackles as a sophomore in 2012, including a game-clinching interception in the final minute of the ACC championship game.
Williams ran for 564 yards and had seven touchdowns as a senior in high school, but he was considered the top defensive back in the class of 2011. Yet Williams never really developed into the safety role in his first two seasons at Florida State. Fisher wanted to make Williams a tailback a year ago, but he said no.
That changed after the 41-13 rout of Pittsburgh. With FSU going into a bye week, Williams and Fisher sat down and talked. FSU's deepest position is at defensive back. Williams could stay at safety and play in nickel or dime situations. Or he could move to tailback.
There was plenty of extra time for Williams to practice and make the transition.
"I had an extended week," Williams said. "It was something they've been talking about. He pretty much asked me. It's just another way to help the team and put points on the board and I wanted to do that. I said 'Coach, I’ll do it.' "
Williams said he felt like the time was right to make the change. And it's been a perfect jump-start to his college career.
On his first carry against Nevada, Williams ran off right tackle. He picked up textbook-perfect blocks from fullback Chad Abram, right tackle Bobby Hart and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. And he was gone.
"Once I saw daylight, I used what God gave me and that was speed. I just tried to get to the end zone as fast as possible. Don't stop. Just keep running. Don't fumble the ball. Don't trip on your own shoelaces. Keep running and make it to the end zone."
Williams did reach the end zone. And twice more against Bethune.
Even Williams' friends on defense are impressed by his transition.
"You watch the guy in high school and he was animal at running back," cornerback Lamarcus Joyner said. "That's the kind of guys we recruit. We recruit athletes. I think he will have success."
So far, so good. Williams has always been happy playing football. He smiled while talking about the success of FSU's defense. And he's thrilled now to be on offense. Which is more fun?
"I just love being on the field," Williams said. "I love being a 'Nole. (Offense is) more tiring. Offense is a lot more tiring. You're going at your pace. On defense, you're at the mercy of the offense. … But when Jimbo wants to go hurry up offense, you're going hurry up. And you can't say no."
Williams couldn't say no, and now he is soaking up his new position like a sponge. There will be challenges ahead as Florida State gets deeper into the ACC schedule. And he will need to prove himself as a pass blocker.
"I still have to develop a long way at the running back position," Williams said. "I played in high school and high school is a toss here, toss there. And when you are 6-2, 230 in high school, you are a dominant guy on the field. But in college it's different."
But for Williams, the first two weeks at tailback have been as good as it gets.
Contact Bob Ferrante at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @bobferrante