Wesley notebook: Junior safety Williams one of keys to Wolverines’ solid defense

Coray Williams, a junior, is tied for the Wesley team lead in tackles with 17. Wesley sports information

DOVER — At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Coray Williams hardly looks like a small-college safety.

“He’s bigger than some of the defensive ends we face,” said Wesley College coach Chip Knapp. “And maybe even a couple defensive tackles.”

And that kind of size makes a difference when Williams comes up from the secondary to make a tackle.

“At 6-3, 215, coming down to tackle a running back who breaks through the line, the laws of physics will take over and he’ll go down,” said Knapp.

Having Williams as the last line of defense is just one reason why the Wolverines’ defense has been pretty dominant so far.

Coray Williams

Going into Saturday’s 1 p.m. New Jersey Athletic Conference football matchup at Southern Virginia (1-3 NJAC, 1-3 overall), the seventh-ranked Wolverines (2-0 NJAC, 3-0 overall) have allowed just seven points in the last 10 quarters. And that touchdown came on a kickoff return.

Williams, a junior, is tied for the team lead in tackles with fellow defensive back Daquay Harris-Winbush. Both have 17 tackles.

The thing is, if Wesley hadn’t been so deep at wide receiver last season, Williams might still be playing offense right now.

A receiver his freshman year, the Wolverines moved him to safety in the spring of that season.

“They asked me if I felt like making the switch to defense,” said Williams. “I just told them, anything to help the team I’m willing to do. Cappadonna (Miller), he made the switch before me, so he was there to help me out, too. As the season went along, I just got more comfortable with the defense. I was able to play faster.

Chip Knapp

“I just pin my ears back and go play football.”

“He had a process to go through to learn the position and remember how to play defense (from high school),” said Knapp. “Now he’s kind of coming into his own and it’s becoming more natural for him. He’s making plays and he’s doing great.

“We’re fortunate to have him on the defensive side of the ball. I think it was a great move.”

As a team, the Wolverines are ranked third nationally in scoring defense (5.7 points per game) and seventh in total defense (192.0 yards per game). Williams, though, said the last thing Wesley wants to do right now is start thinking that its better than it really is.

Right now, the Wolverines are in the last of a three-game stretch against teams near the bottom of the conference standings. That will change quickly next week when Wesley hosts No. 6 Frostburg.

“As a defense every week, we just try to improve on the little things,” said Williams. “Mainly we just focus on staying disciplined, doing our assignment and just get after it on every play. I mean we put in the work all camp, we put in the work every week leading up to the games and then it’s about just going out there and executing.

“I like how the defense looks this year.”

Coming and going

This may be the last time Wesley plays each of its next two opponents.

Southern Virginia is slated to join the Old Dominion Athletic Conference while Frostburg plans to move up to NCAA Division III.

That will leave the Wolverines with three nonconference games to fill every season. If the past is any indication, that won’t be easy.

“We’ve always had a tough time finding Division III opponents to play us — within the Mid-Atlantic Region especially,” said Knapp. “So that is a concern. We’ve put the word out there but haven’t heard much back.

“We’ll play anybody, of course. And there is incentive to play a tougher schedule in Division III. The areas where they need games are Texas, Wisconsin and California so that’s tough on the budget.”

On the road again

Starting with Southern Virginia, Wesley will play five of its last seven games on the road.

But, under former coach Mike Drass, the Wolverines always played well away from home. Knapp said it’s a tradition he hopes Wesley will continue.

“It’s just a fun thing,” he said. “I think our guys enjoy being together, even on the bus, and going to a hotel. We have some guys who don’t travel a whole lot so this is an adventure for them.

“It’s exciting to get away and just be focused on football and not have any other distractions. Even the coaches feel that way. I don’t think we’ve ever looked at it as a negative.”

Injury update

Wesley was still waiting for test results to come back on the knee injury suffered by freshman running back Xavier Drummond in last Saturday’s win over William Paterson.

But Knapp wasn’t too optimistic about the situation. On just seven carries, Drummond (Sussex Tech) had already run for 144 yards and a touchdown.

“It was a shame to see him go down,” said Knapp. “He was moving up the depth chart. He was going to get more touches if he continued to do what he was doing. I was really looking forward to seeing his progress.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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