Karlos Williams admitted he did not digest all of Florida State's playbook during his freshman season last year.
"He didn't," Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher confirmed Wednesday. "And he's still learning a lot right now. He's getting better."
Williams, a sophomore safety, said that approach has changed this spring, as he enters with a chance to crack the two-deep at strong safety, fighting with Tyler Hunter to relieve starter Terrence Brooks.
Even with a new outlook, though, the second go-round is not without its challenges.
"It's good. Still getting that work in and trying to learn the playbook, it's difficult," Williams said. "Coach [Mark] Stoops runs a complex defense. Still trying to learn to slow things down and take my time and make plays when they come to me and don't go after them."
Having older brother Vince, entering his fifth year as an FSU linebacker, has paid dividends for Karlos.
"I knew I was coming into a difficult situation," he said. "There were two guys in front of me but I'm lucky to have my brother here. He told me to learn from the guys in front of me and to take my time and develop as a man first before a football player so I can mature."
That may be easier now that he knows where he will line up once his number is called.
Having played running back in high school, Williams was almost used by the staff in the backfield last season, but the crowded race ahead of him ultimately resulted in safety being the more comfortable option for him.
"I'm more comfortable playing on defense and I've built relationships with the guys on defense," Williams said. "Also, at running back it was a little uncomfortable, plus there was a lot of guys that will get a lot of reps. It was just a situation I felt uneasy."
It is not like Williams will not have the chance to make plays with the ball in his hands anyway. Last season he averaged better than 23 yards on eight kickoff returns, and he is hoping the opportunities will still come his way, even if new rules — kickoffs are from five yards closer now — may decrease the likelihood of huge returns.
"I’m very excited. It's a different game now," Williams said. "I tell recruits coming in that you're now looking for guys to hit. In high school you had guys that don't want to be on kickoff, they run down slow but now it's an assignment and it's a big part of the game. Games change on kick off and kick returns. Running down the field is exciting. Be out there and pumping the crowd on kick off. Over the season, [special teams coordinator Eddie Gran] and I talked about it that most of my excitement overplayed me this year. I got too excited running down, I'd miss a tackle or I'd get myself blocked in some situations, but overall it was a great experience and I loved it."