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UK LB Avery Williamson: “It’s a lot easier when the guys see the coaches respecting you”

Avery Williamson

Avery Williamson

By LARRY VAUGHT

He knows he’s being counted on not just a defensive leader, but as a team leader by coach Mark Stoops.  However, that suits Kentucky senior linebacker Avery Williamson.

“I am used to it now. I have been doing it since last year. I feel like I have tried to be a leader since my sophomore year really,” said Williamson. “I am used to it. If he wants to put that weight on my shoulders, I will take it up.

“The biggest thing is just knowing what I have to do all the time. I have been in the playbook a lot. Going to meetings with coaches, watching film, just knowing what I have to do on the field and leading by example. I also talk to guys and tell them what is right and what is wrong. That’s a big part of leadership.”

Williamson certainly led by example last year even during UK’s dismal 2-10 season. He finished second in the Southeastern Conference with 135 tackles and was seventh nationally in total tackles. He had a career-best 20 tackles against Vanderbilt, a game where the Commodores embarrassed UK. He had a streak of four games with at least 13 or more tackles in each game, the first UK player to do so since Randy Holleran in 1990.

While Williamson won’t criticize former defensive coordinator Rick Minter for last season’s woes, he did admit that the overall positive vibes from Stoops and his staff could make it easier to lead his teammates.

“It is a lot easier when the guys see the coaches respecting you,” Williamson said.

And that says volumes about what went on with Minter last year.

“It takes a little bit of pressure off you when the coaches respect you. Coach Stoops has really helped me out by backing me up a few times. The assistant coaches and strength coaches have done that as well. That makes a big difference,” Williamson said.

Can that attitude make players perform better?

“I feel like it can. Having a fresh start, I feel like guys will be a whole lot looser and play a lot harder this year,” said Williamson, who has played in 37 career games.

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9 comments

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  1. Ira

    Man the more that comes out about the old staff the more you want to shake your head at. Actually done with that, past that point, you are really at is it any wonder with that old staff we went 2-10. Thankfully we have this new staff that knows what it means to be a football staff. Support guys trying to step up in leadership rolls.

  2. TrueBlueJohn

    Sounds like a real indictment of the former defensive coordinator. It also speaks volumes of the new staff’s ability to build up the players. This is true in the business world. You tend to work harder for someone who respects you and the job that you do than someone who is continually critical.

  3. Anonymous

    Avery’s been a class act ever since he’s been here…a very hard working player who’s earned my respect!

  4. goUKats

    There has to be a reason other than athletic ability for the performance of the UK football team last year.Williamson may have touched on it.That’s why I am so anxious to see some of these same guys on the field this season.

    I’ll bet we fans will be pleasantly surprised this time around.

  5. Ira

    GoUKats,

    Same reason myself. Really believe this old staff let this team down last year. I want to see what this team can do with a staff that believes in them has them prepared for each game. Puts them in a position to win games. After that its on the players. They have to go out there on the field and fight for it. Believe they will.

    Lots of people are calling if we go 4-8 it will be great for UK. I say bull, I know we have depth issues, our players aren’t the same quality as the rest of the SEC, funny thing is never stopped Brooks taking us to 4 straight Bowl games. Think we will surprise a few people. These kids are hungry for wins, hungry to put those embarrassing losses behind them. Believe they will.

  6. Anonymous

    We see lots of cocky, insecure kids, Avery was raised well, shrugged off the few offers he got and was a great UK get by Coach Sanders. Speaking of insecure, unfortunately, we all know plenty of adults with big egos, but uncommunicative with poor judgment.

  7. James

    Chuck Smith is an embarrassment. Since he was worthless he should probably repay some of his salary that he basically stole. Can’t coach, can’t get get recruits from his own back yard, he will never get another job at a FBS school.

  8. shinny

    What a staff Stoops has put together!! This will be a surprise season–I feel it in my BBB!!

  9. Little Baron

    BBB. I like that … can feel it in our BIG Blue Bones or Big Blue Blood or …

    Very nice description of how deep BLUE resides within the BBN !

    Avery sure has endured a lot. What a testimony to endurance & faith, not giving up even under adverse circumstances & deflating 2 1/2 years of football. Gotta want to see this team make a bowl – however long the odds & however steep the mountain, to get back up out of the low 2 win season – f

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