Early hint: It’s a non-quarterback.
The player Matt Stahl of al.com believes can jolt the offense was described as the “hero” of the 17-3 victory over South Florida: Roydell Williams, Tide running back.
Why There’s the Belief Williams Can Ignite Alabama Offense
As Stahl traced back to the 14-point win that featured a severe weather delay then accompanied by sloppy football play, he believed the win would’ve never been made possible if it weren’t for some hard-charging runs by Williams with less than 6:30 left in the game.
“Ty Simpson accomplished the goal when he pushed into the end zone on a QB sneak to seal the victory. But for a Crimson Tide offense that had struggled all game, the hero of the drive was running back Roydell Williams,” Stahl wrote.
That drive Stahl pointed out was the one where the 5-foot-10, 204-pound running back was given the football five times. But he racked up 64 yards on the drive and averaged 12.8 yards per carry.
Even earlier, Williams showed his slippery side on what was a slippery day in South Florida.
Of course, his best run was when he forced six Bulls defenders to chase him down, still resulting in the 48-yard scamper.
Williams’ final tally? He ended up with 17 carries, 129 yards and one touchdown. He became a bright spot of what’s been a gloomy start overall for the Tide offense.
“The criticisms of Alabama’s offense this season have been mostly valid. The Tide has struggled to move the ball over the last two weeks, the quarterback play hasn’t been stellar and the offensive line has resembled a turnstile while pass blocking,” Stahl wrote.
That can change, though, if Williams becomes a central emphasis of this offense moving forward.
“If Williams and McClellan can mount a consistent rushing attack, it could help UA exponentially on offense,” Stahl wrote.
Williams Was Once Compared to Past Pro Bowler & 1,000-Yard Rusher
When Alabama locked him in on National Signing Day, Williams became a prized four-star signing and the state of Alabama’s fifth-rated prospect.
But there was one more element attached to the Hueytown, Alabama native — a strong comparison to Kareem Hunt by 247Sports. The same Hunt who earned Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2017 during his first and only Pro Bowl season.
“Physical runner who embraces contact and uses his lower body strength and leg drive to run through arm tackles. Has good vision in the hole with the ability to make jump cuts at the line of scrimmage,” wrote 247Sports national analyst Charles Power. “Developed as a receiving threat out of the backfield as a senior and looks to have soft, natural hands. Plays with an aggressive, tough demeanor and is a ferocious blocker when given the opportunity.”
Power concluded: “Has adequate to good speed but does not have a true top gear you’ll see with many elite running back prospects at this stage. Projects as a Power Five starter with the potential to develop into an early to mid round draft pick.”
Well, Williams is now a P5 starter. At a place that produced future first rounders Najee Harris, Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry and most recently 2023 No. 12 Jahmyr Gibbs, Williams showed the type of runs that point to him carrying the torch bequeathed by each runner in Tuscaloosa.
And now, he’s been called the guy who can help reignite the Tide offense if used more often.