The 2011 season was invaluable for Oklahoma right tackle Daryl Williams.
The sophomore earned a starting spot as a redshirt freshman but an ankle injury hampered him throughout the season and allowed Lane Johnson to take his job at right tackle. Williams never regained his starting position.
“It was very frustrating,” Williams said. “As a redshirt freshman, I had a huge opportunity to do good and start, be an asset to the team. It just didn’t work out.”
So what did Williams learn?
“Stay starting,” he said. “Work hard and keep my spot. It helped me last year to know how important it is to be starting. My whole mindset has changed.”
Williams could have the highest upside of any offensive lineman on the roster. His strong base combined with his athleticism could make him an anchor on OU’s offensive front for the next few seasons.
“I knew I could play at this level," Williams said. “I think it was just I had to get stronger. I gained a lot of weight and I think that helped me out.”
While he knew he could compete at OU, he surprised himself with how quickly he made an impact.
“It kind of was surprised,” he said of starting his first game after a redshirt season. “I didn’t expect it to be like that.”
Even though he earned a starting spot, he didn’t gain the belief in himself until recently.
“I’ll be honest, the confidence came this year,” Williams said.
While Johnson and Tyrus Thompson battled to start at left tackle, Williams’ job at right tackle has never been in question since spring football. He has seized the job and he doesn’t look like he will relinquish it anytime soon. Expect him to be a key member of the offense in 2012.