Alan Williams returns to UMass football team

Last modified: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
AMHERST — Alan Williams completed his necessary schoolwork to return to the University of Massachusetts football team and was glad to be there.

“I couldn’t wait to be back out here. It feels real good,” said Williams, a redshirt senior wide receiver. “Coach just wanted me to square everything away and make sure I’m getting all my work done. He wants me to graduate in December. He wants me to make sure I’m on top of all my work. So that’s what I was doing.”

UMass coach Charley Molnar said that senior offensive lineman Nick Speller hadn’t completed his necessary work, but that he could be back Wednesday.

“We’re hoping he jumps through the hoops he needs to jump through,” Molnar said. “Alan did with flying colors. He’s turned his course in a positive direction. I’m really, really proud of him for fighting back and getting himself back on the field. ... I always like guys to grow from their experiences. He seems contrite. He’s taken a step in the right direction. I’m excited for him that he’s on track academically. We’re all over our guys to make sure they go to class and take care of their business academically.”

Williams, who did not like missing the last two games, said he appreciated what Molnar did.

“He wants the best for me. It was terrible to be out, but it felt good that he wants me to succeed,” Williams said. “I’ll be very proud. This was all worth it. I might not like it now. It’ll be worth it when December rolls around.”

Molnar said Williams looked sharp despite the two-week absence.

“He’s back. He had a very good practice. High energy. He looked good, fresh legs,” Molnar said. “He wants to get back on the field, no doubt. He’ll have to earn his way back to (being) a starter. He’ll definitely play.”

Molnar said if Speller doesn’t return Wednesday, he’ll miss Saturday’s game at Vanderbilt.

“He’s been away for a couple weeks. He’ll be rusty and he’ll be way behind if he doesn’t show up by tomorrow,” Molnar said.

HEALTH UPDATES — Sophomore Greg Hilliard, who hasn’t played since Sept. 15 with a shoulder injury, could be out for the season.

“I think he’s going to be out for a while if not the rest of the season,” Molnar said. “Where he’s at (Tuesday), I have no hope that he’ll be back.”

Molnar was in the process of determining whether Hilliard might be eligible for a medical redshirt.

Defensive back Ed Saint Vil (leg), who returned to practice Monday, had a set back Tuesday and will miss Saturday’s game.

“He did not do much today,” Molnar said. “He’s sore and will be out for this game.”

Senior defensive lineman Galen Clemons, who is coming off a concussion, passed the necessary progression test Tuesday. He’ll have to pass another on Wednesday before being eligible to play Saturday.

Cornerback Antoine Tharpe (leg), offensive lineman Jamie Casselberry (concussion) and tight end Derek Beck (leg) have all been ruled out Saturday.

A POTENTIAL TIGHT END RECRUIT — According to the Maroon Musket, a blog dedicated to UMass football, Chris Barnett, a tight end from Hurst, Texas, who signed but never attended Michigan, is considering enrolling at UMass. A Rivals.com four-star recruit in high school, the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Barnett had offers from quite a few elite programs, including Notre Dame.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.