Quinnen Williams is having himself a season. After a productive season as a rotational guy last year, Williams bulked up some to play the nose tackle spot vacated by first round draft pick Da’Ron Payne and never let go of the opportunity.
While Raekwon Davis was the breakout defensive lineman last year, this year, it’s definitely Williams. He’s 5th in tackles, just one behind Mack Wilson; and he’s 2nd in tackles for loss, just one behind Isaiah Buggs (who’s also having himself a season). Williams also leads the team in QB hurries with 9, one ahead of Christian Miller.
3rd and 10: Williams (#92) is the 3-tech (on the outside shoulder of the guard) on the left side. The right guard leaves him untouched for the running back to pick up, and that’s a battle Williams is generally going to win. And he does. Easily. However, Xavier McKinney (#15) came unimpeded on a blitz and gets the strip-sack on QB Jarrett Guarantano before Williams can get to him.
1st and 10: The Vols have the ball again after their fumble, and they’re lined up in the pistol. Williams is lined up in between the center and left guard. Williams crashes down into the A gap, and the guard is tasked with reaching him. That does not happen. Before Guarantano can turn around and hand the ball off, Williams is already a yard in the backfield. By the time the running back has the ball, Williams is barely a yard and a half away and closing fast. The play’s over before it starts.
1st and 10: Williams is the nose tackle here, heads-up over the center. He shows off his explosiveness, firing into the center’s chest before the offensive lineman can react. Williams swipes his arms aside and blows by his left shoulder, leaving the center to just spin around and chase him in vain. Williams is two yards in the backfield by the time the back gets the handoff. With it being a sweep to the right, he gets away from Williams; but Williams doesn’t give up and ends up helping make the tackle.
1st and 10: Williams is lined up over the A gap again. Tennessee is in shotgun and motions the running back out of the backfield. Williams rushes to the outside. The left guard tries to push Williams upfield, but he fails. Williams shows off great handwork again, getting his left arm in the guard’s chest and slipping by. Guarantano is already stepping up to avoid the blitzing Shyheim Carter (#5), but he can’t get away from Williams. Unfortunately, Deionte Thompson (#14) was called for defensive holding; so Tennessee gets a first and Williams doesn’t get his sack.
1st and 10: Williams is over the inside shoulder of the left guard. Tennessee’s in the gun with the running back to the left of back-up QB Keller Chryst. Williams fires into the guard and stands him up while keeping his eyes in the backfield. The running back hesitates with Isaiah Buggs (#49) and Williams leaving him little room. The back had few options, but Williams does a nice job of winning the block and disengaging to be the first defender to make contact.