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Nigel Williams is currently battling with redshirt junior Corey Marshall for the top spot at defensive tackle, so he was likely counting on having a big spring.
However, while both tackles will likely rotate in and out of the lineup to keep things fresh during the year, Frank Beamer and defensive line coach Charley Wiles were certainly hoping that one or the other stepped up in the spring.
Yet Williams hasn’t been particularly effective on the field. As a redshirt sophomore, he’s had time in the system, but he hasn’t really shown it on the field.
He couldn’t crack the tackle leaderboard in the team’s first spring scrimmage, and at 290 pounds, coaches are a little concerned about his weight.
The Roanoke Times’ Andy Bitter said Wiles thinks that Williams “might be a bit too heavy, wanting him to still be able to run well.”
But Williams doesn’t seem to agree.
"(I) gained more stability in the middle, so I feel like that helps a lot," Williams told Bitter about his weight, and it’s not necessarily great to see a player publicly disagree with his coach on something like this.
By contrast, the team likes Marshall’s physique and is happy with his progress this spring, Bitter wrote in the same article.
At the tackle spot next to [Luther] Maddy, Marshall, who returned from a redshirt year after a brief leave from the team, has the upper hand. Coaches have liked the way he's handled himself since returning from what was a disciplinary measure last year. (Marshall declined an interview request Thursday.)
He might be lighter than the typical tackle -- he weighs in at 257 pounds -- but he gives the Hokies what defensive coordinator Bud Foster calls "twitch" inside, along with Maddy.
It doesn’t seem like Williams is completely out of the running, but if he wants to grab a larger share of the snaps at DT, he’ll have to improve a bit.