June 2, 2011

Q&A: Starts' coach talks Tech

RedRaiderSports.com caught up with Waco (Texas) La Vega High School coach Willie Williams just after news broke that his star offensive tackle Michael Starts had committed to the Red Raiders for a brief Q&A session.

The following was our conversation:

RRS.com Can you talk about what kind of player Michael Starts is and how highly recruited he was?

Williams: This is really a new position. We moved him to tackle, he was a tight end for us. It was better for our program and we talked him into playing offensive tackle because we felt that would give him the best opportunity to go to the next level. He accepted it and from there everything has kind of taken off.

RRS.com Stars has only been playing offensive tackle for one season and is that highly recruited?

Williams: Yes. He's still learning the position but he's such a great athlete and he's very athletic. He's very intelligent. When you put all those things together, you have a great player.

RRS.com Starts made this position switch just prior to the start of last football season?

Williams: We called Mike and his dad in and at first Mike was not very receptive to it. But the type of kid he is, he's a team player. We've been doing this for a long time and we pretty much knew this would be his position on the collegiate level. It made us better as a team and it made him a lot more of a better football positionwise. They received it, they accepted it and we went on down the road from there.

RRS.com Do you think he could be recruited as a tight end?

Williams: He may have been recruited as a tight end but they would have moved him to the offensive tackle position I really believe. Once he gets to college and they put him on a weight program, an offseason program and he's eating right every day, he's going to be probably a 310 or 315 pound kid. There aren't a lot of tight ends that size around.

RRS.com What kind of kid is Starts off the field?

Williams: Great kid, great character. He's very soft spoken but he is a joker and loves to kid around. For the most part he's a joy to be around, a great kid. I just can't say enough about his character.

RRS.com Can you talk about why Starts chose Texas Tech?

Williams: Texas Tech got on him early. Coach (Robert) Prunty came down and did a heck of a job in finding out everything about Michael when he came in. Nobody had really come in here. But once Tech came in here they offered him after a couple of weeks and from that point I think Texas A&M followed and it really took off. Once people found out about him we got offers from all over the place. Notre Dame called in, Michigan offered…. It got so big that it was something he just wanted to get through with it.

RRS.com Was it Starts' goal to get recruiting over with before the start of his senior season?

Williams: We didn't want that lingering on and at one point he came up to me and said, 'Coach, can I go ahead and just tell them now about where I want to go?'

I said, 'Well, Mike, you've just got to take your time and look at it and make sure it's your decision because once you make it you need to stick with your decision.' He and his family set down and made the decision. They narrowed it down and at that point they just went ahead and chose Tech. I really think it's because they came on him early and they stayed with him the entire ballgame and coach Prunty did a heck of a job. They talked about academics as well as athletics. With that said, I think it says a lot about the Tech program.

RRS.com What are some things you want to work on with Starts before sending him to the next level?

Williams: The thing about Mike is he's got to learn how to play hard every play. It's no secret.

When you get on the next level you have to have this look in your eyes. He's really going to have to hone in on, 'I have to play hard on every play. I've got to sell out every play.' That's just a matter of time because you're going to be going up against the best in practice and in the games.

I think it's going to bring out the best in him.

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