Robert E. Lee head football coach Myrick Anderson has only headed up the Generals' program for a season. But that doesn’t mean the longtime assistant doesn’t know what it takes for his athletes to succeed at the next level.
Anderson, who was an assistant coach at the school for 13 years before taking over head-coaching duties, played in the SEC for Steve Spurrier’s Florida Gators in the early 90’s. The former bandit-back, a linebacker position in the Gator defense at the time, will now send his top offensive lineman, Tramell Williams, to play for Spurrier’s South Carolina program.
“I’m always talking about some of the things that (Spurrier) inspired us with when we were at Florida,” Anderson said. “And the type of coach he was. And [then] ‘Bubba’ (Steve Spurrier, Jr.) came down. (Tramell) really liked the way Coach talked to him, and see, he was up front with him. He said he wasn’t going to waste his time, and he didn’t want him to waste his.”
Anderson, who knows what it’s like to play in the best conference in college football, says that the lure of playing in the SEC also played a big factor in Williams’ decision.
“He really wanted to be an SEC player,” Anderson said. “He has read all the specs about sports, and he has read about the SEC and the Big 12. He really wants to be an SEC player. Vanderbilt was one. And then when South Carolina stepped up with him, he wanted to play up under Coach Spurrier. He says he had a great visit [earlier this week]. He said he liked the atmosphere, he liked the coaches, and he felt at home. I guess that would make you want to be there, and especially playing under a coach like Coach Spurrier.”
Williams took an unofficial visit to Illinois before going public with the decision. Anderson also played under Zook, who served as defensive coordinator from 1988-90 and special team coordinator from 1991-93.
Zook and staff gave Williams plenty to consider, but he had already made up his mind to attend USC on the Columbia visit. With that, the 6-2.5, 270-pound center prospect becomes the third interior lineman in new offensive line coach Eric Wolford’s inaugural o-line class at USC, joining Bamberg-Ehrhardt’s A.J. Cann and Cocoa’s Ronald Patrick.
Anderson says Wolford is getting a talented, all-around player.
“He’s not real big, but he’s real physical,” Anderson says. “He’s a physical-type athlete, and he is awesome with his speed. He’s explosive, very explosive. He’s not a big bencher, but his legs are strong. He does a lot of stuff from his lower body where he really needs to work from. He’s up around 300 pounds, he’s not a 400 pound bench presser. His footwork is really good. He has great lateral and forward movement. He is the type of athlete that you’re looking at as a center or a pulling guard.”
And that’s exactly where Anderson believes Williams will fit in at USC.
“I think he’s a great fit [at USC]; he played everything for us,” Anderson said. “He really wants to play center, and I think that’s what they’re wanting to look at him at. I think he will be an asset as a guy in the middle to hold down and be able to coordinate the whole front. A lot relies on the center, and he’s a pretty smart kid. He can make the adjustments and he can get the job done.”
The explosive blocker didn’t get to that point overnight, and it hasn’t been easy, either. Anderson says it has taken a lot of hard work and development for the future Gamecock to get to the point he is now.
Williams was once at nearby Nathan B. Forrest High School, but transferred to Lee because of a lack of playing time, according to Anderson. That’s when things took off.
“I took over the job last year and kind of took him up under my wing and let him know, locked down some things, went over some things with him with what he needed to do to get to the next level. And he wanted to,” Anderson said. “He’s really a great player. I made him one of the captains of the team. He took the bull by the horns, and he’s been excelling ever since. He works out hard. He’s one of those leaders that takes the amateurs and he works with them and tells them what needs to be done and keeps the whole team in line.”
What Williams has developed into is one of the top offensive line prospects in the Sunshine State. Rated the No. 11 center in the nation by Scout.com, Williams chose USC over offers from programs like Illinois, Vanderbilt and Maryland.
Still, as a three-star prospect, Williams has one thing holding him back: his size. At 6-2.5, 270-pounds, he doesn’t possess the ideal size of most upper-echelon offensive line prospects. But Anderson says Williams’ other physical traits more than make up for the couple of inches keeping him from being a four-star prospect.
He also says there’s the chance Williams could grow a couple of inches as his father is in the 6-5, 6-6 range.
“He’s a kid that has room to grow,” Anderson says. “He might hit a [growth] spurt, I mean he’s gotten bigger in the last month. He’s been working out, and he’s gotten a lot bigger, so he’s got some room to go. If he can put some more size on him in the next couple of months and get an inch or two then he should be one of the top [rated] guys in the nation, because he’s just that type of kid.”
That type of kid is one who doesn’t have a whole lot of weaknesses to his game. While Williams will obviously be developed at the next level, Anderson believes the Gamecock coaches are getting a fairly polished product.
“Maybe his pass protection, that might be the only thing he needs to work on,” Anderson says. “And we’re focusing on that this summer. But he doesn’t lack too much. I mean he can run block; he’s very aggressive. But that pass protection, I think he can work on that just a little bit. He really doesn’t have a whole lot to work on. He’s going to go in and they can teach him some other [technical] things.”
Then Williams will be in the same situation his coach was in 20 years ago: learning under head coach Steve Spurrier and his staff – and hoping to be a part of an SEC Championship like Anderson was. Anderson says as long as Williams and Spurrier are at South Carolina, he will be a fan.
“I’m always a fan now. Anywhere (Spurrier) goes, I’m a fan of where he’s at. I always tell people, he’s going to get there and he’s going to get that team, and he’s going to make something happen. I love to watch Coach on Saturdays. I was at Florida, that’s my alma mater, but I love everything that he does. I’m a big fan of Coach Spurrier. Wherever he’s at, I cheer him on because I like the things he does.”
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