The Tigers, who led the nation in scoring defense last year allowing 11.3 points per contest, are ranked 10th in that statistic as they head into a Saturday home game vs. the South Carolina Gamecocks, a team that scored 45 points in a victory over Troy last week. AU has allowed its first four opponents a total of 40 points, but Williams says the Tigers shouldn't have given up that many.
"We are getting better," the two-year starter from Columbus, Ga., says. "We are not where we want to be, but we are trying to get better every day in practice. I think we will get there.
"We have to hurry up because this is our second SEC game and each one in the conference is just as important as the other one," adds Williams, as the Tigers continue their quest to defend their 2004 SEC Championship.
After taking the day off on Monday, the Tigers had a full pads Tuesday practice with the first team offense going against the first team defense. Players on both sides of the football say the session was a physical one.
"It was pretty good practice on defense," Williams notes. "We are kind of narrowing it down on the number of players we are going to use this week. We have to go out there, play together as a team and take care of each other."
Antarrious Williams has 16 career starts as an Auburn player.
Defensive coordinator David Gibbs has substituted heavily the past two games, but that pattern is expected to change in game five.
Williams says the theme at practice this week on defense is for the starters to play each down without making mistakes and take care of individual responsibilities so the group as a whole is more successful. "We need to concentrate and worry about taking care of one play at a time," he says. "I think we will just focus on the one play we have called in the huddle we will be okay."
Williams will be keeping an eye on the quarterback in the game on Saturday for the Gamecocks. Blake Mitchell from LaGrange, Ga., is the starter and is off to a productive start, but he suffered an ankle sprain last Saturday and is listed as questionable for the 6 p.m. kickoff at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is expected to start 6-1, 187 redshirt freshman Antonio Heffner at quarterback who is known as a good runner. He has completed 7-10 passes this season for 103 yards and one TD without an interception.
Mitchell, a 6-3, 194 sophomore, has completed 71-109 passes for 916 yards with for seven TDs and three interceptions.
"They are really different types of quarterbacks," Williams says. "Heffner is a real agile quarterback and he is going to try to run the ball a lot more than if Blake Mitchell is in the game. Blake is a great passer, but he can run the ball, too, but he is going to throw it more, which is Spurrier's style."
Williams, a fifth-year senior, says that he played high school football and basketball vs. Mitchell's brother, who signed a pro baseball contract with the Colorado Rockies, but this will be the first time he has faced the redshirt sophomore who led LaGrange High to a state title as a junior.
Williams says he is excited about getting back to conference competition on Saturday evening. "I know we will be ready to go. We need to concentrate on taking care of ourselves even more than Carolina because if we play good defense we will be all right regardless of what they do to us."