ELMHURST – There’s a first time for everything.
Josh Williams enjoyed a memorable first last fall, when the Downers Grove South graduate and Elmhurst College football player played on the same team and shared the backfield with older brother Scottie Williams for the first time.
“It was amazing,” Josh Williams said. “It was something we always wanted to do since we never had the opportunity to do it in high school.”
Williams started his college career at perennial Division III powerhouse Wisconsin-Whitewater, but the academics of Elmhurst and his familiarity with the football program were the perfect match when he decided to transfer.
“I got to see and experience [Elmhurst College] going to my brother’s games for three years,” Williams said. “Being around the program, I understand what it’s all about and what it takes to be successful.”
Williams’ first season with the team couldn’t have gone much better. The Bluejays won a share of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin title for the first time since 1980 and won their first playoff game.
“Winning the CCIW championship was amazing,” Williams said. “It required a lot of hard work and we did it.”
As Williams and the Bluejays look to defend their conference title, he has been working out on his own and with his teammates, and has been doing agility drills to keep his footwork sharp.
Williams could have his number called even more this season than last because his brother has graduated along with 2012 starting quarterback Joe Furco. The other big change comes on the sidelines as Joe Adam moves from coordinator to head coach to replace Tim Lester, but to Williams, the Bluejays’ continued success lands squarely on the players’ shoulders.
“As far as I see it, it’s more about the players than the coaching change,” he said.
Defending the title won’t be easy against fellow 2012 D-III playoff qualifier North Central College and Wheaton College, which shared the CCIW title with Elmhurst last fall, but Williams and his teammates wouldn’t have it any other way. They relish the hard work it takes to be successful on the field.
“We have an opportunity each and every day, in each practice and drill, to show our blue collar mentality,” Williams said. “We’ve got to do whatever it takes to achieve our goals.
“As a team that’s having a winning season, winning conference and setting a new bar. My No. 1 goal is just doing whatever it takes for the team to have success. It’s about our team. If we’re not successful as a team, then as far as I’m concerned, I’m a failure no matter what I do on the field.”