10/05/2011 11:01 AM
DB Travis Williams will return to Spokane for 2012 with NFL, CFL experience and an AFL Championship on his resume.
For most Arena football fans, when they think of some of the top QB’s to play the game, names like John Dutton, Nick Davila, Chris Greisen and Brett Dietz come to mind. While these quarterbacks’ names decorate the AFL’s record book, they also have fallen victim to Spokane’s newest addition DB Travis Williams.
During his rookie season in 2010, Williams’ collected eight interceptions (regular season and postseason) – including five against the QB’s named above – helping Spokane capture its first ArenaBowl. Additionally, Williams collected 21 pass break-ups (leading the team in that category), with 86 tackles to boot.
Following his rookie season in the AFL, Williams signed with the BC Lions of the CFL where he has spent the last two seasons. Earlier this week Williams re-signed with Spokane to “finish what they started.”
10 QUESTIONS WITH TRAVIS WILLIAMS
Welcome back to Spokane.
“It’s a privilege and an honor to come back to a place where I developed my skills. It feels good to be back. It’s an honor.”
1) When you made the jump to the CFL what were you able to apply from your Arena experience?
“The Arena game helped me how to learn and adjust to the game on the fly. It’s still football but there are differences and some of those just click on game night.”
2) How are you a better player now than you were in 2010?
“In the CFL, the time is now to make plays. You don’t really have time to learn the game; you have to be locked in and loaded from day one. My time in the CFL made me a better player because I had to compete and fight for a job. I had to be prepared for whatever the game was going to throw at me.”
3) You had an opportunity to sign with other teams in the AFL, why did you choose to re-sign with Spokane?
“I’d like to clear the air because there was speculation that I didn’t like Spokane or that I hated Spokane. But that wasn’t the case. I had opportunities to go elsewhere but I felt like I owed something to Spokane. I felt like if I was going to play in the AFL, why wouldn’t I come back to Spokane? This was the team that helped accomplish some of my goals that are hard to accomplish, like winning the Championship. I felt like Spokane was the perfect fit for me.
We have a great staff in Spokane – from the bottom to the top. Ryan Rigmaiden (General Manager) kept a great relationship with me and I really felt like he cared about me as a person. That meant a lot a me. I feel as though I can play hard for a franchise like Spokane. “
4) During your time in BC, you were a teammate of Stanley Franks who is now your position coach. What is your relationship like with Coach Franks?
“It was crazy because when I was with the Arkansas Twisters (in 2009), he played for Spokane then. I had the highest respect for him because he played the position so well (middle defensive back) and I always liked him. When I got to BC, he was already there and he welcomed me with open arms. Stanley is a cool guy; when I’m down he always helps me look at the bright side.
We will click well together. He knows my forte and he knows what I lack so I think it will be a good combination.”
5) Over the years, Spokane has developed a pipeline to the CFL and the BC Lions. Did you ever talk about that with your BC teammates?
“Yea – we always joked around and talked about the times we had in Spokane. I had never met Khreem (Smith) until he came to BC. Our locker was right next to each other and we clicked really well together. He is a man amongst boys out there on the field.
Stanley and I always argued about who the best player was in Spokane, who had the most picks. We couldn’t argue about who won the most Championships though, so we called it even.”
6) Have you been keeping tabs on the roster for the upcoming season?
“I have been. I have seen some of the new additions and the returning players. I’m a football fan – I don’t do anything but watch football and study players.
I played with Erik Meyer and it starts with him. I think he is a guy who can lead us. I have seen him prepare and do everything that he needs to do as a QB. I think he can lead us in the right direction.
Beau Bell and I came out of college the same year, so he’s always been on my radar. I know he’s an aggressive linebacker.
Brandon Thompkins was in camp with me in BC. He was a great receiver – he’s fast, he’s shifty, he can make the tough catches and get out of the small jams. After a while, everyone was wondering who this kid was and he just keep making plays.
Not to pinpoint everyone one by one, but I think the whole team will come together in camp. I don’t have any doubt that Rigmaiden is putting together a team that will win a championship.
I’m looking forward to putting on the blue and orange and #12 to finish what we started.”
7) What is it going to take for Spokane to bring home another Championship?
“We will need big plays from our wide receivers. On the defensive end, we need to have a ‘bend don’t break’ mentality just like we did in 2010. When teams get into the redzone, the playbook and the routes get shorter. With that being known amongst the DB’s – and a little of my own experience – I know that we can jump routes and we can do this and that. I learned a lot by playing in Spokane. I feel confident that if we play our part on the back end and the d-lineman get some pressure I don’t see why we couldn’t contend.”
8) Are you comfortable being a leader for this team?
“That won’t be a problem. During the middle of the 2010 season, I started wearing the orange jersey in practice just like Erik Meyer and Kyle Rowley because I feel like I’m the QB of the defense.
With me and some of the other players that were there last year we can all voice our opinions. We can have a leader on the d-line and I can help lead the DB’s. I’m willing to do that and take on that responsibility.”
9) In the Arena game, DB’s are taught to have a short memory. Is it going to be an adjustment to move from the outdoor game to the indoor game?
“No. I don’t like people scoring on me period. When I was with Spokane, I’d give up two or three TD’s and I felt bad. But the coaches would tell me ‘That’s great! You should be giving up five or six touchdowns a game against those receivers.’
I’m a play hard type of guy on every play. Getting off to a fast start is the best thing possible so with that being said, I’m going to get out to a fast start.“
10) In college, you had experience as a returner and it sounds you will be adding that to your responsibilities for the upcoming season. What will that be like to get back there again?
“It’s going to be great! I won’t take on those duties fully. I would just like a couple so I can show people not to kick it my way because if you do I will go the other way. “