COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Second-year Texas A&M offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone still has questions to answer about his offense as the Aggies continue their first week of work during preseason camp.
Which quarterback will take control and eventually start game one against UCLA? Which talented but inexperienced receivers emerge to make plays on the outside? Is a young offensive line capable of surviving the physicality of an SEC season?
One question he doesn’t have to answer is about his feature back.
The Aggies may have two guys who can fill that role, but sophomore Trayveon Williams is at the top of the list.
For any good running back, having a bond with the big guys paving the way up front is a top priority. Williams has no problem with that: His roommate is projected starting center Colton Prater.
“I love my offensive linemen,” Williams said after practice on Sunday evening. “I hang with those guys as much as I can. Those guys are the best people in the world.”
Last season, Williams burst onto the scene for the Aggies in their opener against UCLA with a 94-yard performance at Kyle Field.
“I kind of had the confidence early,” Williams said. “Running behind that great offensive line we have is astonishing. It came easy.”
He certainly made it look easy on multiple occasions.
One of his more memorable moments was a highlight-reel 89-yard touchdown run against Auburn. After getting to the second level, he cut outside with a juke that put safety Tray Matthews on skates and put the game on ice midway through the fourth quarter.
Williams finished with 1,057 yards and eight touchdowns on 156 carries, a healthy average of 6.8 yard per carry. He became the second running back to rush for 1,000 during the Kevin Sumlin era, joining Tra Carson in 2015.
Going into this season, the plan among the A&M staff seems to be to get No. 5 more involved.
“He (Coach Mazzone) called me into his office and said my role would change this year,” Williams said. “I would be leaned on more, me and (backup running back) Keith Ford.”
In theory, continuing to split carries between Ford and Williams with a new starting quarterback will help keep both backs healthy throughout the season. But Williams possesses a seemingly innate ability to score from anywhere on the field — last season, Williams had five runs of 40-plus yards, tied for third-most in the SEC, and had two of 70-plus, tied for most in the SEC — and should receive the bulk of the carries this season.
And don’t blink. You just might miss him take one to the house.
(You can follow Dalton Hughes on Twitter @Hughes_Dalton)
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