19 Days Until FSU Football: Linebacker Vince Williams

Williams is fighting to keep his starting spot at middle linebacker.

This is the 39th in a series of articles counting down the most important players for Florida State in 2012. There are 19 days until FSU football, and that's how many are left on the list. That means no off days. Oh, and these are not in any specific order.

Vince Williams | 6'1 250 | RS-Senior | Linebacker

Background:

Earned a four-star ranking as an inside linebacker as a high school senior...named Polk County Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and all-county honors as a sophomore...amassed almost 300 tackles with 48 tackles for loss and 25 sacks over three varsity seasons...earned 3A second-team All-State honors as a senior...co-MVP of the Scout.com combine in Jacksonville...chose Florida State over LSU, Ohio State and Florida... older brother of fellow Seminole Karlos who was a sophomore in 2012...born December 27, 1989. Courtesy: School Bio

Vince Williams was fairly impressive as a freshman in limited time, and along with Nigel Bradham and Nigel Carr, gave FSU fans visions of an excellent linebacker corps in 2010 and 2011.

The trio never really materialized like some believed it would, though, as Williams injured his back in 2009. He definitely lost a bit of a step (not that Williams was ever the quickest or most agile linebacker), but bounced back in 2010 and was able to back up Kendall Smith.

In 2011, he earned the starting job, holding off a challenge from Telvin Smith. Williams played fairly well. He was mostly good against the run. Against the pass, he could be a liability, but it seemed that the defensive staff realized this more and more with each passing game and limited his liability and exposure against the pass. Florida State isn't about to hand out the play calls, but from what we can tell, Williams was fairly assignment sound.

This spring we wrote:

"Vince Williams is the only true senior that returns to the linebacking corps (well, technically two but we'll get to that in a bit). Williams impressed last year in that he earned the starting job at middle linebacker. He finished 5th in total tackles. While he may not make the splashy highlight reel hits often, he continually did his job and played his position, not trying to do other people's assignments. As a middle linebacker, this is of utmost importance. What resulted was a solid performance that had many 'Nole fans pleased and in many cases surprised with his level of play. Look for Williams to continue to mature as a smart, heady player. For Vince to have a shot at the second level, he will need to be even better this year and that all starts with a solid spring performance."

TN's 2012 Outlook:

Linebackers across the nation dream of playing in a situation such as the one facing the FSU corps this season. With one of the best defensive lines in the country, Florida State linebackers will have plenty of opportunities to rack up gaudy stats in tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks as their stout teammates chew up blockers and divert play angles in front of them. Middle linebacker Vince Williams will be a beneficiary of these circumstances for the Seminoles this season. The ‘Noles linebacker position has found itself increasingly thin and features likely starters of stud Christian Jones and the relatively green (at linebacker) Nick Moody alongside Williams.

Though Telvin Smith saw a significant amount of snaps at Mike last season, he is not a lock to pass up Williams as many have speculated elsewhere. Smith was not with the team for some of the summer due to concerns with grades, and Jimbo Fisher recently described him as being reinstated. Williams likely has the inside track to the starting position, and should see a large portion of the snaps there in 2012, though nothing is set in stone as of yet (heck, the 'Noles have not even had their first scrimmage of the fall).

He will need to continue to do what he did well last season - namely consistently fulfilling his responsibilities and being in the proper position. He doesn't need to be a world-beater at middle linebacker and nobody is expecting him to be. Progression for Vince Williams in the same role that 2011 saw him play would provide valuable senior leadership in the middle of the defense and would likely land him among the team's leading tacklers.

Ultimately, it is on the coaches to self scout and understand what Williams does well and to put him in a position to maximize his effectiveness. Jimbo Fisher often talks about being "situation smart." The defensive staff will need to do a good job of being situation smart in knowing when to play Williams and when to play Smith.

Player Countdown
Camp Coverage
Opponent Previews
57: Cason Beatty, Punter
56: Terrence Brooks, Safety
55: Dan Hicks, Tight Ends
54: Clint Trickett, Quarterback
53: Rashad Greene, Receiver
52: Austin Barron, Center
51: Everett Dawkins, Defensive Tackle
50: Tank Carradine, Defensive End
49: Devonta Freeman, Running Back
48: Christian Green, Receiver
47: Cam Erving, Offensive Tackle
46: Chad Abram, Fullback
Debrale Smiley, Fullback

45: Ronald Darby, Corner/Returner
Marvin Bracy, Receiver/Returner

44: Jarred Haggins, Receiver
43: Jacob Coker, Quarterback
42: Tre' Jackson, Guard
41: Mario Pender, Running Back
40: Giorgio Newberry, Defensive End
39: Tyler Hunter, Cornerback
38: Nick Moody, Linebacker
37: Anthony McCloud, Defensive Tackle
36: Bryan Stork, Offensive Line
35: Rodney Smith, Receiver
34: Xavier Rhodes, Cornerback
33: Jacobbi McDaniel, DefensiveTackle
32: Kevin Haplea, Tight End
31: Christian Jones, Linebacker
30: Bjoern Werner, Defensive End
29: Josue Matias, Guard
28: Terrance Smith, Linebacker
Nigel Terrell, Linebacker

27: Dustin Hopkins, Kicker
26: Brandon Jenkins, Defensive End
25: Nick O'Leary, Tight End
24: Demonte McAllister, Defensive Tackle
23: Lonnie Pryor, Fullback
22: Jacob Fahrenkrug, Offensive Line
21: Eddie Goldman, Defensive Tackle
20: Willie Haulstead, Receiver
19: Vince Williams, linebacker
* Jimbo Fisher press conference
* Practice day 1
* Day 1 photo gallery
* Scholarship roster update
* Mario Pender out for year
* Practice days 2 & 3
* Practice day 4
* Practice day 5
Wake Forest
PreSnapRead | Connelley
Clemson
PreSnapRead | Connelley
USF
PreSnapRead | Connelley
NC State
PreSnapRead | Connelley
Boston College
PreSnapRead | Connelley
Miami
PreSnapRead | Connelley
Duke
PreSnapRead | Connelley
Virginia Tech
PreSnapRead | Connelley
Maryland
PreSnapRead | Connelley
Florida
PreSnapRead | Connelley
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