One-on-One with Victor Williams '16
Victor Williams ’16 is a starting wide receiver for the football team. In the Big Green’s home-opener against Sacred Heart University at Memorial Field, Williams set career highs with 11 catches and 178 receiving yards to go along with a 60-yard touchdown grab.
The Dartmouth sat down with Williams to discuss the life of an Ivy League wide receiver.
When did you start playing football?
VW: I started playing football officially in fifth grade. My dad was a coach of second- and third-grade teams when I was in pre-school, so I used to put pads on and participate in that. Fifth grade was the first time I formally played football.
Is your approach to this season different given that you are a senior?
VW: No, it’s not really any different, but it means a lot more because it potentially could be your last time playing football. While the approach is somewhat the same, you are a veteran, and it’s your team, and you have to lead the guys. You’re no longer following the senior class. You are the senior class, so you have to make sure you take care of business and get the guys under you to take care of business.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing football?
VW: I have a passion for music. This is all when school isn’t as demanding, so when we’re not in school. I play guitar, and I sing. I like to get away by singing a lot or learning a new song.--— anything that just sounds pleasing to my ear. I like a lot of R&B and I like John Mayer --— he’s a great guitarist. I really like the way he plays, so I sometimes try to replicate that.
Against Sacred Heart, you faced a lot of Cover 0 and press-man coverage — is that something you enjoy as a receiver?VW: Oh yeah, I love that. Every receiver loves it when you play man because it’s mano a mano. It’s you against him, and it’s who’s the better guy. That’s the most exciting thing you can play against it, and I know definitely that’s my favorite thing to go against and that’s where I have an advantage.
What gives you an advantage in that one-on-one situation?
VW: I’m a smaller guy, so sometimes it’s a little harder to get hands on me. I’m also quick, and that combination is hard to press, so I get a free release. At that point, I’m good to go.
What would you like to do next year?
VW: If I don’t get a chance with the NFL or CFL, then I’m going to carry on my career here. I’m in the five-year program for engineering, so I’d like to get my Bachelor’s of Engineering and pursue a career from there. I don’t really know exactly what I want to do, but I have a little more time. I’m running out of time, but I have a little more left.
Has the increased awareness of concussions and head trauma in football change the way you play? Do you think about that?
VW: No, not really. There’s always been that danger ever since you’ve been a kid. Yeah, there’s more awareness now, but just because there’s more awareness doesn’t mean there’s more of a chance you’re going to get a concussion. The way you avoid that is you play proper football — you don’t duck your head when you go in for a tackle or when you run over a defender. You just have to be smart, and you have to protect yourself.
Some people say that safety concerns, like head trauma, will eventually push football out of the American sports landscape. Why do you think it should stay there?
VW: Football, to me, is the greatest sport in America. It’s the greatest team sport, and it kind of replicates life. The ball’s not round, so it can bounce in any direction. You’re going to get twists and turns throughout the game, and success depends on how you bounce back. I know a lot of sports are somewhat similar, but you also have to learn how to work in teams, which is how it’s going to be in the workspace. I’m a very biased person, but I think, while it is dangerous, it has its pluses. I think people want to see football, and while people want to see it and want to pay for tickets, football will create revenue. Whatever creates revenue is not going to die out.
In your four years here, can you think of a time when the ball has not bounced your way, either on or off the field, and you had to bounce back?
VW: I was one of the guys who was involved in the Religion 65 incident, and so the whole “Clickergate” deal kind of threw me off, but it was my fault. That’s definitely a perfect example of the ball bouncing in the wrong direction, but you have to bounce back. You can’t allow that stuff to distract you or affect you — you have to move forward. You just need to make sure you learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them.
This interview has been edited and condensed.