In the midst of a 56-10 rout of Louisiana, Mississippi State’s star veteran running back Aeris “A-Train” Williams was in tiptop shape. After little to no playing time in the Bulldogs’ first two games, he took advantage and lit up Davis Wade. So why did it take until week 3? Head coach Joe Moorhead explained that based on performance, Williams did not live to expectations, but the senior turned it around and in a big way.
Perhaps the best part of Williams’ re emergence is Moorhead’s high standards. We have learned that no matter the player, work and performance comes first. A-Train took advantage of an opportunity to step it up and showed out like a locomotive. Williams posted 101 yards on 11 carries and added a touchdown.
The senior has been a consistent weapon for Mississippi State throughout his tenure, but faces higher expectations in one of the Bulldogs’ most promising seasons. Based on his play against the Ragin’ Cajuns, thunder and lightning should be back, as Williams and Kylin Hill have been expected to split carries. If able to have a productive week, expect him to be in the mix Saturday at Kentucky to open up SEC play.
He is one of many reliable weapons in the run game. Williams’ 2017 was a thousand yard season with 1107 on 236 attempts in 13 games. He also found the end zone six times. Given Moorhead’s offensive mind, look for Williams to be utilized in a plethora of plays.
We all know he is a capable runner with poise and leadership. Conference play is a bit different, especially in the nation’s toughest conference, as Williams will be needed. The SEC is loaded and he is well aware. But how will Moorhead dissect defenses going forward? And how will Williams adjust to his system?
While there are still many questions surrounding him, Williams gave the maroon and white reason to take a breath. The Bulldogs face many tough tests going forward, but look the part. Williams is a key weapon, but must show up. We saw glimpses, but just need consistency, the key to Mississippi State taking it a level higher this season.