Q&A; with Travis Williams

By Amber Greviskes

Illinois senior Travis Williams began his Illinois career with a bang.

He earned the team’s Rookie of the Year award in 2002 and is one of the few athletes that competed against Penn State the last time the Illini faced the Nittany Lions. In 2003, he was third on the team in tackles with 91 and started every game at one of the safety positions.

Much has changed for the senior since then. Williams sustained a hip injury last season that has limited his ability to contribute to the team as much as he would like. However, he said, he is still looking forward to his last Homecoming and the chance to compete against Penn State this weekend.

Q: How are you feeling about your last Homecoming?

A: I’m feeling good. I think we have the chance to come in and upset a big team, especially at our Homecoming – no one is supposed to lose at their Homecoming. So, I’m feeling pretty good, and I’m feeling pretty good about the chemistry of our team. I think everybody is ready to get a win.

Q: How is Homecoming different than other games? Is there more pressure to win?

A: I wouldn’t say there is more pressure, I would say that it is more exciting because that is when all the alumni come back and it’s like, ‘Let’s not just do it for us, let’s do it for them too.’ It’s like, ‘They have faith in us, so how come we can’t win it for them?’

Q: Speaking of alumni, who are your favorite former Illini?

A: Elmer Hickman and Christian Morton. Elmer Hickman is like a cousin to me. He came out of the Alton area and he has family that is kind of like my family. Christian we bonded. He was like a mentor to me when I came. Those two are definitely my favorites.

Q: How do you feel about the Cardinals’ chances of going to the World Series?

A: I really want them to win, I’m rooting for them. They’re my team because I’m down from that area. They got there last year, and they didn’t do what we wanted them to do, but hopefully they’ll get there this year and win.

Q: What do you do to get ready for a big game?

A: Pray. I just try to get my mind right and make sure that I know everything on the field and just thank the Lord that he got me here and ask him to keep me safe.

Q: What is the most challenging part about being a student-athlete?

A: Time, just being able to balance everything – school, work and practice, and you’ve got to go study.

Q: What is the most rewarding part about being a student-athlete?

A: There are perks. People know who you are – that might be the best thing, just knowing that people know who you are, and you’re kind of a celebrity on the campus.

Q: What is your favorite movie?

A: “The Wood” because it came out when I was in high school and I had three buddies and there are three buddies on there. I could relate to what they were talking about and the situations.

Q: How would you describe yourself?

A: Funny, shy, very laidback and a go-getter.

Q: What was the memorable part of the last Penn State game?

A: We played well. I think I had a pretty decent game. (Williams had eight tackles that game).

Q: Which position do you like better, cornerback or safety?

A: I think I like safety better because you’re in it. You’re in the mix more. You get to tackle more. With the corner, you’re one-on-one. You’re kind of on an island and as a safety, you get to make the checks and run things in the secondary.

Q: Do you have any secret talents?

A: I can sing. I was in choir in high school.

Q: Do you still sing?

A: Yeah, in the shower – shower time. I sing around the house. Some of the guys, they know I can sing a little bit. They make fun of me a little bit, but it’s alright.