August 12, 2012

Williams aiming for a season opener return

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State defensive end John Simon once described a potential defense with him on one side and Nathan Williams on the other as "scary." If Simon's right, then it might be time for the Miami (OH) Redhawks to be afraid.

Meeting with reporters as a part of Ohio State's media day on Sunday, Williams gave an update on his recovery from the microfracture knee surgery procedure that he underwent in 2011.

"I've made a lot of progress in the last month that I'm really excited about. I was kind of down in the dumps this offseason, questioning whether or not I'd be able to make it back by the first game at 100 percent," Williams said. "Right now, everything's looking on par for me."

A pass-rusher of Williams' quality would certainly be a welcome addition for Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and his staff. The 6-foot-3, 249-pound defensive end established himself as one of the Big Ten's elite pass-rushers during his first three seasons in Columbus, before he left the Buckeyes' opener in 2011 with the knee injury that forced him to take a medical redshirt and sit out the remainder of the season.

On Sunday, Williams revealed that he initially injured his knee in the weeks leading up to the Buckeyes' opener against Akron.

"I hurt it probably the first or second week of camp actually. Something wasn't right," Williams said. "I took a couple of days off and continued on. I practiced probably a couple of days before the Akron game. I tested it out, it felt okay. By the time Akron hit, I played for probably a quarter and a half and I just couldn't take it any more. I was having a hard time even walking."

The injury resulted in Williams undergoing immediate arthroscopic surgery, followed by a more serious microfracture procedure. Almost a year later, the Miami Trace product is nearing the end of his recovery, although he's still not completely healed.

"I'd say I'm pretty close to about 90 percent right now," Williams. "I still got a little bit left to go."

Just recently, Williams began to participate in one-on-one contact drills, but he's still awaiting to practice with Simon and the rest of first-team defense.

"I've been in contact. Just individual drills, nothing as far as team," Williams said. "I'm waiting and I'm very anxious to get out there."

In an effort to get back on the field as soon as possible, Williams has done some lobbying with the coaching staff.

"I'm trying to convince them that I'm ready," Williams said. "It's been a long, long process with this and I want them to know how hard I've been working and I want to prove to everyone that I'm still the player that I was before."

But by all indications, having his work ethic is the last thing that Williams should be worried about.

"He's worked his tail off now. I'm proud of him," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said. "Your heart bleeds for a guy like Nathan Williams. I'm starting to really know that guy. To take football away from him's like taking- that kid lives for it."

But while Meyer's aware of how Williams has been working, he also knows what it could mean for his team if that hard work pays off this fall.

The guy that we want in there is Nate and Simon and the young guys learn from them. That'd be a really good defense if we could get those guys out there at the same time."


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