FAYETTEVILLE — Defensive end Tre Williams transferred to Arkansas from Missouri for his senior season and it has been a good one for him.
In seven games, Williams has 21 tackles, including nine solo, 6.5 for loss, six sacks and half dozen quarterbck hurries. Williams had an interesting statement, particularly considering he came from Missouri, when asked how important the LSU game is to the Hogs.
“I feel like this is a big game,” Williams said. “If you go back and look at the history of Arkansas you know they kind of make Missouri our rival, but if you go back and look at the history of Arkansas LSU is really, really our rival. So going into this game with fire and confidence is the main thing we’re thinking about right now.”
Not only did Williams play at Missouri from 2017-20 he is from Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge High School. He faced LSU some while at Missouri.
” LSU’s been I guess a pretty successful program,” Williams said. “Playing them at Missouri last year when I was at Missouri, the quarterback scrambled a little bit. They ran the ball a lot. That’s kind of what we think they’re going to do now. Just kind of keeping them in the pocket, making them uncomfortable, beating them coming around the edge, making them step up to my big guys in the middle is my job and that’s basically the focus on the game for real.”
It’s also thought that both Max Johnson and Garrett Nussmeier will both see action at quarterback Saturday night. Johnson, a redshirt sophomore, has completed 178 of 296 passes for 2,169 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. True freshman Nussmeier has completed 11 of 26 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown.
“Just kind of watching film, just knowing, he’s a left-handed quarterback,” Williams said. “So, I just know me, I’m mostly on the right side, so switching it up, moving to some different spots, I just know for a fact I’ve got to basically be effective on the edge and make him turn around. I know it’s a dual-threat because I know that they have that other quarterback, too, that freshman. The plan is to welcome him to the SEC, you know what I’m saying.”
Sam Pittman was asked if the bye week helped Williams get completely healthy for the final stretch of games?
“He’s our best pass rusher,” Pittman said. “I think he was healthy last week and he’s healthy today and he’s just got to find a way to get the quarterback which I’m very confident in him. Obviously he’s going to draw the best player they have as well each week. At last best tackle they have you would probably put him over on the left side as far pass protection. You might put your best run blocker on the right side. I think he’s had a good year. Probably his best game was probably A&M you know. But he’s healthy and I expect him to have a good game.”
Since one quarterback throws left and the other one right does Pittman have any plans to flip Williams to the other side?
“Well, certainly you would consider that,” Pittman said. “May be part of the plan. Sometimes when you move kids is it beneficial to him as well? Is he comfortable coming off the edge on the other side as well? Some guys are very natural at it, some guys aren’t because of their strength hand’s inside and things of that nature. Long arm, things of that nature, a move that may become not quite as instinctive as what it would be on the other side. So we certainly have thought about those things. We’ve looked at some of those things. I don’t know that we’ll do it or not, but we certainly have looked at it.”
Williams talked about what he expects from the LSU offense on Saturday night.
“I know they’re going to run the ball,” Williams said. “I know they’re going to pass. I know they’ve got those two quarterbacks. They have two different tight ends that they like to use in two different ways. So just kind of staying on the tip and knowing what they’re going to do and just trusting our defense.”
Williams played a lot of snaps against Mississippi State last week. The Bulldogs don’t prefer to run the ball as much as LSU is expected to do Saturday night.
“I mean, that’s kind of my job, just coming off the edge and just kind of causing some ruckus,” Williams said. “And they passed basically the whole time, so the little run that we did have we shut that down. The passing that they love to do, I knew for a fact I had to press that pocket and make him uncomfortable and make him scramble and make plays.”
Williams and the Hogs will kickoff against LSU on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.