Andraez “Greedy” Williams spent an entire month of preseason practice preparing to be LSU’s starting left cornerback for the season opener against BYU.
So, when the time came for the redshirt freshman to make a play Saturday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Greedy was, well, greedy.
More importantly, he was smart.
When a deep, high-arcing pass from BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum came his way on the first play of the Cougars’ second possession, Williams showed how he got his nickname as a child growing up in Shreveport.
Displaying textbook man-to-man coverage, Williams positioned himself between the ball and BYU wide receiver Beau Tanner, then went up and plucked the ball out of the air before falling to the turf.
On the seventh snap of his college career, Williams, who was nicknamed "Greedy Deedy" (later shortened to "Greedy") by his aunt because he ate so much when he was a baby, made an impact play for the Tigers.
“When I turned around and saw the ball, it was kind of underthrown,” he said. “I couldn’t really see it (at first), because the Dome lights kind of blinded me a little bit. So when I really saw it coming, I had to make sure I secured it with my chest, and then I put my hand over it.”
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Williams was aided by sophomore inside linebacker Devin White, a childhood friend from northwest Louisiana. White came free up the middle on a delayed blitz and forced Mangum to deliver the ball a split-second early.
The interception turned out to be a key play in LSU’s 27-0 blanking of BYU, which never crossed midfield and was held to six first downs and 97 yards by the Tigers’ stingy defense.
At the time of Williams’ takeaway, BYU was trying to catch the LSU defense off-guard with a quick-strike touchdown moments after Derrius Guice’s 4-yard run gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
While using his ball skills and athleticism to make the interception were important, Williams’ football IQ and preparation also played a role in correctly diagnosing the play.
Williams, who was told by the coaching staff in late July that he would work with the first-string defense, had an inkling that BYU would quickly try to get the touchdown back.
“We were practicing isolation (in camp), and when I saw the running back motion out, I’m like, ‘OK, they just isolated me. … Now, it’s just me and (Tanner) on one side,’ ” Williams said. “I’m over there by myself, and I’m like, ‘Yeah, the ball’s going to come.’ ”
Williams said he just had to figure out whether Tanner was going to run a comeback or a go route. He initially thought it was a comeback, but Tanner sped up and Williams, a four-star recruit from Calvary Baptist, raced down the sideline with him.
“I put my armbar on to try and knock him out of bounds a little bit,” a smiling Williams said, “and I just turned around and caught the pick.”
It’s a feeling Devin White gets.
It didn’t hurt that Donte Jackson, LSU’s other starting cornerback, and defensive backs coach Corey Raymond helped prep Williams for his debut with the Tigers.
Since two-year starter Kevin Toliver didn’t make the trip for the game, Williams was told he would be a target and would get tested early because Jackson, a junior, was on the other side.
“Donte just prepped me every day in practice,” said Williams, who also had three tackles in the game. “It was me and him working on release drills, so I was ready for whatever they threw at me.”
Especially on that deep ball from Mangum.
Saturday was supposed to be the big reveal of LSU’s new offense.