Running back Williams glad redshirt season’s over as Hens open camp

NEWARK — As he jogged back to the huddle after a good run, Kareem Williams couldn’t resist.

The Delaware running back had a few good-natured things to say to one of his defensive teammates as he went by.

“The defense talks a lot,” Williams said with a smile. “Now I can finally respond to them. I couldn’t say a word (last season). I just kept quiet all year.

“That was very hard for me,” he admitted. “Because I’m a very talkative person.”

There were a lot of things Williams couldn’t do last fall.

With the Blue Hens having a glut of running backs, Williams took the somewhat-unusual step of redshirting despite being a veteran. He had a breakout season the year before, running for 795 yards as a sophomore.

Junior running back Kareem Williams is ready to go again after redshirting last season. (Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell)

As Delaware opened preseason practice on Friday afternoon, Williams was just happy to be a full-fledged football player again.

“I missed it last year, I really did,” he said after the Hens’ two-hour session. “I feel like I’ve been away for five years.

“Redshirts, they’re not really focused on football. You’re focused on lifting and getting bigger and faster but not football. I didn’t even go to meetings. I never experienced that before.”

The Hens are clearly glad to have Williams back on the field.

Danny Rocco

Delaware looked to have another very deep backfield this year. But standout senior Wes Hills has been suspended, with his future with the program uncertain.
First-year coach Danny Rocco likes what he’s seen from the 5-foot-10, 210-pound Williams.

“He’s a good football player,” said Rocco. “I think he’s explosive. He’s a natural ball carrier. He’s got good vision. I’m enjoying getting to know him.

“I had been impressed with what I had seen. I’m very optimistic about what he’s going to be able to do, what he’s going to be able to bring to the table this year.”

Hills was a dynamic player — when he was healthy. He ran for 1,849 yard and 14 TDs in his career, as well as averaging 8.3 yards on 88 carries last season.
But Hills was also sidelined for 14 of 46 career games with injuries.

“Everyone misses Wes,” said Williams. “He really was a captain of the team. He was a leader, he was fun in the locker room.

“But the running backs room is deep. It’s a very deep room.”

Beh, Reeder reunited

Noah Bey

A lot of things are new for Noah Beh right now.

But one thing that’s back to being the same for the Penn State transfer is being teammates with Troy Reeder.

Beh, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive lineman, and Reeder, a second-year linebacker for the Hens, were roommates for two years at Penn State.

“It definitely helps that Troy Reeder was one of my best friends,” said Beh. “We talked just about every day even before (he transferred).”

Beh played in 13 games for Penn State two seasons ago. He didn’t see any action last year, however.

Delaware likes the fact that the newcomer can play either tackle or guard.

“He’s got experience, he’s got physicality,” said Rocco. “He’s got size and athleticism. The exciting thing is just beginning this process.”

After spending most of the summer in Newark, Beh said he’s happy with his decision. He’ll have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

“Right from the beginning, there’s a lot of great guys on the team,” he said. “That was easy to tell. They were very welcoming. It’s been very easy to gel with them and get adjusted to everything.”

Long, hot summer

If it seems like preseason camp started extra early this year, that’s because it did.

The NCAA got rid of two-a-day practices but allowed teams to start camp earlier.

Delaware opens the season by hosting Delaware State on Aug. 31.

“We put a lot of thought into our (preseason) schedule,” said Rocco. “I talked to a lot of different people. I think it’s important that you get the model right.”

“Whatever it may feel like,” said Bey, “we know it (the season opener) will be here before we know it.”

Extra points

Delaware had eight quarterbacks in uniform on Friday, with returning starter Joe Walker, third-year sophomore Pat Kehoe and Appalachian State transfer J.P. Caruso seeing the most action. Smyrna High grad Nolan Henderson also completed a pass late in the session. … Along with Hills, defensive players Larry Spears and Jawshawn Thompson have also been suspended. … Junior tight end Ryley Angeline has been moved to running back, a position he played in high school. … Cape Henlopen High grad Brent Reed, now a 6-foot-5, 240-pound third-year sophomore tight end, got some playing time with the higher-level offense while Polytech High grad Mark Bonnie got off a few good punts.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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