For the last few seasons, fairly or unfairly Alabama running back Roydell Williams had a reputation of gaining a few yards and then falling down. The joke around here was that he was “Mr. Two Yards and a Cloud of Dust”. Much to the chagrin of some fans, Nick Saban used Williams as a short yardage specialist last season. However, he was not exactly special in those duties, often times getting hammered at the line of scrimmage.
In RBR preseason posts, you likely read about how he appears to be the fourth best running back on the team, but Saban was still going to play him number two. And that’s exactly what has happened. Through the first two games of the 2023 campaign, Williams did not make any big gains.
Going back to MTSU, Williams had 1 reception for 4 yards, 7 carries for 36 yards. Three of his touches resulted in first downs.
- 1st & 10 at MTSU 47 (9:14 - 1st); run for 5 yards to the MTSU 42
- 2nd & 5 at MTSU 42 (8:40 - 1st) pass from Jalen Milroe complete for 4 yards to the MTSU 38
- 1st & 10 at MTSU 36 (7:44 - 1st); run for 4 yards to the MTSU 32
- 3rd & 1 at MTSU 27 (6:42 - 1st); run for 3 yards to the MTSU 24 for a first down
- 1st & 10 at ALA 20 (8:39 - 2nd); run for no gain to the ALA 20
- 3rd & 1 at ALA 29 (7:48 - 2nd); run for 8 yards to the ALA 37 for a first down
- 1st & 10 at ALA 12 (0:44 - 2nd); run for 5 yards to the ALA 17
- 2nd & 5 at ALA 17 (0:11 - 2nd); run for 11 yds to the ALA 28 for a first down
Texas DL Byron Murphy showing relentless effort on this play to get the run stuff on Bama RB Roydell Williams! pic.twitter.com/3xXLcjeKEy— Hook'em Headlines (@HookemHeadlines) September 12, 2023
Against a really good Texas defense, Williams was unproductive. He had 6 rush attempts for 12 yards; 2 passing targets, 1 reception for 5 yards. None of his touches resulted in a first down.
- 2nd & 9 at TEX 48 (3:06 - 1st); run for 5 yards to the TEX 43
- 3rd & 4 at TEX 43 (2:31 - 1st); run for 1 yard to the TEX 42
- 3rd & 10 at TEX 24 (0:00 - 1st) pass from Milroe incomplete (poor pass)
- 1st & 10 at ALA 25 (13:21 - 2nd); run for 5 yards to the ALA 30
- 1st & 10 at ALA 39 (12:25 - 2nd); run for no gain to the ALA 39
- 1st & 10 at TEX 17 (0:27 - 2nd) pass from Milroe complete for 5 yards to the TEX 12
- 2nd & 10 at ALA 24 (6:17 - 3rd); run for no gain to the ALA 24
- 1st & 10 at ALA 41 (2:48 - 3rd); run for 1 yard to the ALA 42
Last Saturday in Tampa, Williams started out with his same old rhetoric of two yards and falling down. But then something peculiar happened. All of a sudden to the astonishment of many, the senior burst out for some big gains and help put South Florida away. He recorded career highs in rush attempts (17) and yards gained (129). He had one 16 yard touchdown run negated by a holding call on Alabama. Williams added a pass reception from Ty Simpson good for 2 yards. Three of his plays resulted in first downs and he scored his first touchdown of the season.
- 1st & 10 at ALA 26 (5:38 - 1st); run for 1 yard to the ALA 27
- 1st & 10 at USF 38 (0:15 - 1st); run for a loss of 2 yards to the USF 40
- 3rd & 12 at USF 40 (14:48 - 2nd); run for no gain to the USF 40
- 3rd & 1 at ALA 48 (5:54 - 2nd); run for 3 yards to the USF 49 for a first down
- 2nd & Goal at USF 8 (3:10 - 2nd); run for 3 yards to the USF 5
- 1st & 10 at USF 39 (5:48 - 3rd); run for 7 yards to the USF 32
- 2nd & 3 at USF 32 (5:24 - 3rd); run for 26 yards to the USF 6 for a first down *
- 2nd & Goal at USF 1 (4:35 - 3rd); run for 1 yard for a TOUCHDOWN
- 2nd & 18 at ALA 14 (0:50 - 3rd); run for 13 yards to the ALA 27 *
- 2nd & 16 at ALA 26 (14:54 - 4th) Ty Simpson pass complete for 2 yards to the ALA 28
- 1st & 10 at ALA 35 (10:32 - 4th); run for 3 yards to the ALA 38
- 1st & 10 at ALA 20 (6:24 - 4th); run for 3 yards to the ALA 23
- 2nd & 7 at ALA 23 (5:42 - 4th); run for 48 yards to the USF 29 for a first down *
- 1st & 10 at USF 29 (5:08 - 4th); run for 1 yard to the USF 28
- 1st & 10 at USF 16 (3:37 - 4th)
run for 16 yard Touchdown, holding penalty (Kadyn Proctor)
- 1st & 20 at USF 26 (3:23 - 4th); run for 12 yards to the USF 14 *
- 2nd & 8 at USF 14 (2:31 - 4th); run for 7 yards to the USF 7
- 1st & Goal at USF 4 (1:47 - 4th); run for 2 yards to the USF 2
- 2nd & Goal at USF 2 (1:10 - 4th); run for 1 yard to the USF 1
* Explosive plays are defined as rushes of 12 or more yards and pass completions covering 16 yards or more. Williams had four against South Florida.
This latest performance leads to the big question: has Roydell Williams finally turned the corner to becoming a star back? Or was he just fortunate enough to be the one in the backfield when the USF defense was its most vulnerable? The Tide back had 9 yards on five runs in the first half. It wasn’t until 5:24 was remaining in the 3rd quarter that he broke out for his first explosive play of the season. Most of his gains came in the fourth quarter. On a wet muggy day, the Bulls defense had played their hearts out for much of the game. Williams played the role of closer, wearing down USF until QB Ty Simpson punched it in for the final score of the game with 33 ticks to go. The Tide’s last drive lasted 11 plays, 80 yards and ate up 5:56. Of those 11 plays, Williams had 7 carries for 74 yards.
Compliment Roydell Williams for his solid help to Proctor - Ferguson sets probably too far back but shouldn't be a big deal. Buchner sees and picks out the right man, just cannot deliver the football accurately. PUNT pic.twitter.com/Y8OrF2TSjg— Joe Gaither (@JoeGaither6) September 19, 2023
[On a side note, Williams is a much better pass protector than his running back counterpart, Jase McClellan.]
The Crimson Tide have another challenger on Saturday in Ole Miss with a defensive coordinator in former Bama DC Pete Golding who is very familiar with defending the Alabama running backs.
Roydell Williams ____
This poll is closed
has turned the corner and will be a top back the rest of the way.
just happened to be the RB in the game against a tired defense. He’ll go back to 2 yards and falling down.
I don’t know yet. Let’s see what he does against OM.