MODERATOR: We have Josh Williams. He has a few words to say.
JOSH WILLIAMS: How you doing? Nice to meet you all. It’s a pleasure to be here today.
MODERATOR: Good to get out of the heat in Louisiana?
JW: “Yes, sir.”
Q. What does it mean to you to be in the position you’re in? You grow up a big LSU fan, you go to LSU. You had offers other schools. You kind of took a chance, bet on yourself to get to this point, and now going into the season and the spot you’re in, what’s the emotions like for you?
JW: “It means everything in the world for me to be here in this spot that I’m in. Coming into LSU as a walk-on and seeing the guys that participate in the SEC Media Days and what they meant for the team and what they meant to the coaching staff, just to be in the position I am now, it just feels amazing.”
Q. Coach Kelly talked right before you. He said if you can’t run the ball, you may as well make your way to the concession stand, go home. Against Georgia in that SEC championship, two and a half yards per carry, what do you have to do and what does your offensive line have to do to make sure that you guys can run the ball in a game where you are playing against a team like Georgia, a National Championship caliber team.
JW: “I believe that we just have to go back to the drawing board and take it day by day. I think that staying consistent in practices and going hard every single day will eventually and ultimately take that away”.
Q. Commissioner Sankey talked today about there needing to be some congressional oversight to create one unified message on NIL kind of to simplify the process for everyone involved. How much do you think that would help players as they look to make the move into college football?
JW: “I think it will be a great opportunity for players. Not only because it will give them more opportunities to focus on football alone, and the NIL deal would take more of a back burner, and we wouldn’t have to give as much energy to it.”
Q. Josh, you are one of the few players that still has a connection to a 2019 National Championship team as a true freshman being on a scout team. I just want to ask, having the opportunity to come to college and being around all those future NFL players, how did that help you to develop into the player you are here today?
JW: “I would say the main thing that helped me was seeing the consistency that they put in each and every day. You know, when you see guys like Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase and Clyde Edwards-Helaire come in each and every day, going the extra mile, doing the extra small, detailed things, that’s what showed me what works, the consistency.”
Q. I would love to know just the differences between last offseason, new coaching staff, coming off the end of the Orgeron era to now, coming off a division championship, just what’s been different about this offseason, especially compared to last offseason?
JW: “I would say this offseason there’s a lot more confidence in the building. Everybody knows everybody. We’re comfortable. We have a lot more transfers in.
Also, I would say that Coach Flint also made a comment that when he first came in last season that he really couldn’t do his full strength and conditioning program as he would if we were already here. But this offseason we have been picking it up, doing a lot more. He has been congratulating us and applauding us every week, so I know we’re doing well.”
Q. Just curious, the way you guys ended that regular season in College Station at Texas A&M, what do you remember from that game and just the feelings you had of ending the regular season that way?
JW: “It was a tough game for me because I wasn’t able to play, and I’m from Houston, Texas, and I know everybody at A&M. It was a tough deal for me, but I learned that I could be more of a vocal leader, and I learned from that situation. That’s what I’ve been focusing on this whole spring and this summer is to become more of a vocal leader rather than just go with my actions.”
Q. The win over Alabama last year, what did that mean to this program in terms of what you’re trying to build there?
JW: “It meant everything. Alabama is our rival game, and it was a big deal being at Tiger Stadium, Saturday night. And just the way we won the game and everybody running onto the field and just giving us that momentum for the rest of the year, I think it really helped us push forward.”
Q. With all the success on campus with a lot of coaches who I believe are in year two and Coach Kelly is in year two, how much does that push forward the expectation in the football program?
JW: “It’s brought about a lot of talks and a lot of expectations, of course. We would love to make everybody happy and win the National Championship and have that cycle continue. It would be amazing.”
Q. How does it feel to see the SEC expanding even more into your home state?
JW: “I love the fact that the SEC is expanding more to Texas. I feel like a lot of kids from Texas leave Texas because they want to play in the SEC, but now that they’re bringing it more to Texas, I think it’s a great thing for football.”
Q. It seemed like last season you guys had incredible success in close games, and I was just wondering if there’s anything about the team that you think led to the fact that whenever the game came down to one possession, it felt like LSU won.
JW: “I believe the guys in our locker room, we’re very tight-knit, and we don’t take losing lightly. We’re very competitive. Even in practice. It could be a bag toss. Everybody on the team is very competitive.
When we’re in a close, tight game and you have your head coach, Coach Kelly, pouring his heart out to you telling you to give it your all, we just go out there and give it our all, and we just throw our hearts against the line for the win.”
Q. From growing up being an LSU fan to being a walk-on to earning that scholarship, what was kind of the most surreal moment where you are looking around, like, man, this is it, this is what I dreamt of?
JW: “Honestly, the most surreal moment was after the Florida game going into the locker room and Coach Kelly giving me the game ball after I had a 100-yard game. That was a big deal for me. It was the first time I ever actually noticed that I actually had some accomplishments for real, so yeah.”
Q. Last year about 500 yards, 20 catches — 20-plus catches. Will your role be the same or expanded?
JW: “It’s ultimately up to Coach Kelly what my role will be. All I know is that I am going to stay consistent each and every day and give it all I have.”
Q. So you’ve been at LSU now. This is your fifth year. You spent three years under Coach O and now under Brian Kelly. What is the biggest difference in how between Coach O and Brian Kelly and how they carry themselves, really from a day-to-day operation in LSU football?
JW: “Well, you know, coming into LSU, Coach O ultimately gave me the opportunity to earn a scholarship here. Coach O is a lot more outspoken, a lot more loud, but he ultimately did give me the opportunity to come here as a walk-on and earn that scholarship, which he did give me. So I love Coach O forever for that.
Coach Kelly, there’s a lot of similarities. They’re both great coaches, but Coach Kelly is a lot more — I feel like Coach Kelly gave me the opportunity to become more of a leader. He gave me the opportunity to actually start in a game. Not only that, but I feel like Coach Kelly has helped me become more into my own as a man, as a confident person. They’re both great day-to-day. I wouldn’t ask for any other coaches.”
Q. I just want to ask you about the conference this year. The fact that — how strange is it not to be playing for the SEC West title? You got four teams playing for one spot.
JW: “I actually think it’s pretty different, but I’m excited for it. I’m ready and excited for the future. I think it will be good for the SEC in the years to come.”