AggieYell.com continues its countdown to the start of the 2014 season with its 30 players in 30 days feature on the most important players to Texas A&M's success for the upcoming campaign. The list continues with number 11, the quick tackle duo of Alonzo Williams and Ivan Robinson.
Classification: Williams, junior; Robinson, redshirt senior
Height/Weight: Williams, 6'4", 300 lbs.; Robinson, 6'3", 290 lbs.
2013 Statistics: Williams, 27 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 3 passes deflected in 11 games (8 starts); Robinson, 30 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks in 11 games (5 starts)
Why they're both on the list: Because they're the backbone of a rotation at quick tackle that could be unexpectedly effective in 2014.
Williams started much of 2013 at the position and was largely overmatched, giving up 20 to 30 pounds to nearly all of his opponents as he played the position at around 270 pounds. Unable to get a push and dealing with a sprained ankle, he eventually gave way to Robinson, who had fought his way back from a torn Achilles tendon to play effectively for periods of time before wearing down.
The situation here looked bleak in the spring, as the Aggies hoped to add weight to Williams with the idea of making him big enough to handle the grind of the interior line and braced for the prospect of not having Robinson at all, after he suffered another Achilles injury. At least part of their hopes were realized when Williams put on nearly 30 pounds to get to 300 and retained his quickness. Things got better this summer when Robinson not only surprised observers - and coaches - by getting back onto the field, but playing well in the process.
Mark Snyder said he is much more comfortable with his rotation at the two defensive tackle positions this fall, and Williams and Robinson are two major reasons why. Williams showed during the summer that the Aggies can realistically expect him to hold his own in the middle, while Robinson has fought through pain to become one of the strongest linemen on the team. With the addition of the slightly smaller but faster Jay Arnold, the Aggies believe they can now go three deep at a position where, for much of the year in 2013, they went with one player and hope.