Column: Vintage Mon Williams might be gone

Senior running back Mon Williams was injured for the first two weeks of the season with an ailing leg.

In the third game of the season, when he came back, offensive coordinator Roy Wittke said whatever the team gets from Williams will be a bonus.

Now we’re five games through the season, and Wittke said Williams is not the same guy the Panthers had in training camp, as well as last season.

That was clear from the first time Williams touched the ball, but it is a huge burden for the Panthers.

At one time, the running back position was solid, with Williams and senior running back Jimmy Potempa both being capable starters.

Now, Potempa owns the backfield – because he has to.

With the Panthers having a 0-5 record this season, you could point the running back troubles as one of the problems.

Potempa is a good, tough running back, that takes as many hits as anybody, but Williams used to be Eastern’s explosive running back who had it all.

It’s sad that Wittke said Williams probably wont be the same guy he has been in the past, for the remainder of the season – which will be the end of his career.

William’s leg injury is a tough one to have because the legs feed the wolf, at least at running back.

Running backs make their money by having tireless legs that can run faster than the fastest guy on the field and turn faster than a player can tackle.

All of the characteristics of a running back used to be Williams.

So while it seems Williams will never return to his finest form, the Panthers don’t really lose much more than they had this season.

Potempa has carried the majority of the load in the running game for Eastern; in fact, red-shirt sophomore quarterback Brandon Large has one more carry than Williams does this season, 28-27.

In the games Williams was playing, Potempa carried the ball 42 times for 255 yards. Williams carried the ball 27 times for 87 yards.

Clearly, Williams is only a sliver this season of what we are all used to seeing.

Vintage Mon Williams is gone and it doesn’t seem like he’ll be back.

And now Potempa doesn’t have much support at running back.

Sure, Williams will continue to play in each game – I mean, it’s not like he’s out for the season or anything – but he will not be as much support for Potempa as many people would hope he would be.

And sure, there is a possibility that something clicks for Williams and all of a sudden he is as dangerous as ever. But the odds are against it.

Potempa will have to continue to be one of the brightest spots of this season’s Panther offense, as they try to pick up their first win.

For the rest of the season, keep a close eye on Williams. But don’t forget the way he used to play.

Alex McNamee can be reached at

581-7944 or [email protected].