When Marcus Satterfield walked into the running back meeting last week, Zaire Williams was missing.
The offensive coordinator was unaware that the redshirt-sophomore had made the switch from running back to linebacker.
“We’ve been talking about how to get him on the field because he is such an infectious personality,” Satterfield said. “He competes and coach [Matt] Rhule said ‘go to linebacker I think you can be great and if you stink, we will put you back at running back.’”
Satterfield said he expects Williams to be able to have a successful transition to the defensive side of the ball.
“He’s learning every day,” Satterfield said. “He has an unbelievably high football IQ, so it’s easy for him to pick up things. Plus his natural instincts from offense help as well.”
Williams has not only changed positions this summer, but Satterfield said he has changed his mentality.
“He’s a year older and he’s embraced the team,” Satterfield said. “He’s night and day from a maturity standpoint where he was this time last year.”
Satterfield said there is no timetable on when the team will decide on key position battles, like running back and the backup quarterback.
“There really isn’t a deadline,” Satterfield said, “It is up to who we feel comfortable with and making sure everyone’s health and mentally where they need to be.”
But redshirt-freshman quarterback Frank Nutile, who missed last season with a knee injury, has impressed Satterfield and the coaching staff.
“Frank is doing a really good job of picking up things,” Satterfield said. “It took him a couple days to mentally get over his injury to trust he can play again. That takes confidence and some reps to get back.”
Nutile has inspired the staff enough for them to believe he can compete on game day.
“Frank has done a really good job in the last week of gaining our trust to feel comfortable putting him in a game if we needed to,” Satterfield said.
Michael Guise can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Michael_Guise