Asked to look back on his first season playing in garnet and black, South Carolina tailback Ty’Son Williams first looked at what he didn’t do.
“It was just some plays I left out there,” Williams said. “I feel like everybody should feel that way. You ultimately want to improve when you go out there.”
That first campaign after transferring from North Carolina was a complicated one. At points, he looked like the “most talented” back on the roster, as his position coach Bobby Bentley called him.
At times, he did not.
He had five games with 11 or more carries. He had five with three or fewer. In one stretch, he averaged 1.6 yards per carry against Vanderbilt, then three carries for 8 yards against Georgia and didn’t touch the ball against Florida.
So he made some of those issues a point of improvement this offseason.
“Just working on some of the things I felt like I left out there last year,” Williams said. “Just trying to clean up, focus on picking my knees up, just looking at the defense, seeing what kind of holes will be there based on the defense, stuff like that.”
At times it seemed he ran into bad spots or slipped in the backfield in big moments.
It was also an opportunity missed of sorts, as South Carolina’s projected running backs depth was wrecked by injury.
Starter Rico Dowdle was ineffective early, and hurt the second half of the regular season. A.J. Turner was reliable, but hardly took full control of the job. Williams was in position for at least the second-most carries, and even took the load against Clemson when Turner got hurt.
Williams finished with 471 yards at 5 yards per carry.
He goes into 2018 with the same group. Dowdle is back. Turner is back. No. 4 runner Mon Denson is back, and two freshmen join the fold.
That competition might make it hard to have a bad day, where leaving something out there might well allow another back to assert himself. But Williams doesn’t see it that way.
“That would be the wrong mindset,” Williams said. “You go out there, you’ve got to play. You’ve got to have fun. You get better with time. So, ultimately, some of those same mistakes you made the first year, you shouldn’t make the second year.”