Miyan Williams leads Ohio State with 817 yards rushing this year and has done it while dealing with various injuries throughout the season.
There was a knee injury during the middle of the season which cost him a game, then a hand injury that hampered his availability. The most recent injury was a rolled ankle that cost him all of the Maryland game and most of the Michigan game.
Williams carried the ball just eight times for 34 yards in the loss to the Wolverines. He wasn’t 100% for that game but percentages wouldn’t have mattered anyway.
“That week, I just wanted to be on the field. Just wanted to play. I didn’t care about nothing else but playing in that game,” Williams said this week.
“I wasn’t all the way healthy. But I needed to play that game. So I just kind of took it on the chin. Just did what I could, as much as I could.”
It was clear watching him that he was doing what he could but was limited in what that actually meant. Now, however, he’s back practicing and getting back to where the Buckeyes will need him in the Peach Bowl playoff game against Georgia.
“Feeling good,” he said of his current playing status. “Feeling good. Ready to play.”
Williams’ availability has been made even more important by the absence of fellow tailback TreVeyon Henderson. Henderson began the season as the Buckeyes’ starter but has also dealt with injuries this season. His latest setback is a situation with his foot that will require surgery.
Williams will miss his running mate and feels for him because he’s been in the same situation. After showing everybody a glimpse of what was to come as a true freshman in a 2020 playoff win against Clemson, Williams missed the championship game against Alabama because of a positive COVID test.
“I’m kind of upset that he’s not going to be able to play just because I know that feeling, not being able to play in a big game,” Williams said. “But somebody else has got to step up. Dallan [Hayden] is gonna have to step up. Him and Chip [Trayanum] are gonna have to step up.”
Williams will of course have to step it up as well, but that part is understood. He and Henderson have rarely been healthy for the same game this year, and they have continued to play for each other. They have also been playing for redshirt freshman Evan Pryor, who was lost for the season due to a knee injury back in fall camp.
This game will be just one more example of that.
So does that mean there is more pressure on Miyan Williams to get the job done?
“I wouldn’t say it’s pressure,” he said. “It’s another reason to play even harder, just because my brother can’t play, so I’ve got to play for him and everybody else who can’t play.”
Williams is among the handful of Buckeyes who are using this time between the Michigan game and the playoffs to get healthy. He is still practicing and doing must of what everybody else is doing, but he’s also getting the necessary work done to make sure he’s ready to go on New Year’s Eve.
He has also worked to stay locked in on the task at hand. Injuries can be more difficult to deal with mentally than physically, after all.
“Definitely had to keep my mindset strong and just try to stay focused and try to stay engaged because when you get injured, you separate from football because you’re not able to practice or be around a team,” he explained. “So you kind of just separate sometimes. And I feel like if you don’t try to get so much in your head, you’ll be good.”
Where are things right now with his head…his knee…his hand…and his ankle?
“I feel good. Good,” he said. “I’m ready to play.”
This will be the second playoff game that Williams has ever played in, and it should be by far his largest contribution. There is plenty of pressure on him, but he’s not worried about the moment and what lies ahead.
“I’m not intimidated,” he said. “I’m just ready to play. I’m just ready to play, man.”
He is also excited about reminding people of the kind of player he is when he’s healthy.
“It’s definitely coming,” he said.
The Buckeyes will meet the Georgia Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff Peach Bowl semifinal on Saturday, December 31 with an 8:00 pm kickoff.
By the time the game gets here, Miyan Williams expects to be 100%.
And it might be just in time for Ohio State.
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