One big change that Mark Richt brings to Miami is the use of a fullback. He used the weapon effectively in a bruising running game over 15 years at Georgia. He hopes to transform the Hurricanes’ sputtering running game into a threat.
The Canes averaged only 120 yards per game last season. Only Wake Forest, with 105 yards per game, averaged less among ACC teams. Granted, Miami’s offense revolved around quarterback Brad Kaaya, who threw for more than 3,000 yards for a second consecutive season.
But Richt’s Georgia teams had a healthy passing game as well, just more balanced. And that’s what he hopes to bring to Miami. A solid fullback in the backfield is key in that endeavor.
That’s where Marquez Williams comes in. The 6-1, 280-pound redshirt senior hopes to play that role. A three-year starter at Mars Hill University in N.C., the transfer is eager to make an impact in Richt’s first season as head coach at The U.
Richt already has plans for Williams.
“He is in our ’21’ package, which is two receivers, a tight end and two backs – a true fullback and a true tailback,” Richt said. The package that we run – ’21 – he is picking it up pretty good. But it’s kind of what he has done his entire career at Mars Hill.”
It’s been mentioned that Williams is capable of cleaning 381 pounds in the weight room and strength and conditioning coach Gus Felder has it on video.
“I would be shocked if anybody was stronger than him,” Richt said.
Williams has fit in from the start, both in the weight room and on the football field.
“The transition has been great,” Williams said. “The coaches, players, everyone at Miami has made this transition (great). This is where I thought I would be. This is like a second home.”
Williams has graduated but still has a year of eligibility remaining. He was teammates at Mars College with Richt’s son Jon, who is in his first-year as quarterbacks coach at Miami. He sent his game film to Richt and relayed his interest in Miami. The rest, as they say, is history.
Williams has been a fan of Miami’s new head coach for a while, though.
“It was crazy; I grew up a Bulldogs fan,” Williams said. “Coach Richt was the only coach at Georgia ever since I’ve been a fan. Getting that call from him, I had to ask him if it was really him because I was in such shock.
“After I got off the phone with him, I shed a tear. I called my mom and she was excited. My whole family was really excited. It was great.”
Now Williams hopes to complete the dream by playing a key role in Richt’s offense. His resume includes blocking for a pair of running backs at Mars Hill who combined for 1,709 yards and 15 touchdowns.
But he has plenty of competition for the spot. Auburn transfer Gage Batten could be the starter, although he did miss the spring workouts with a foot injury.
Chris Herndon and Wyat Chickillo are also among those vying for the key position.