CHAPEL HILL – Sylvester ‘Sly’ Williams is a bit slimmer after a meeting with Larry Fedora motivated the defensive tackle to drop from over 330 pounds to just under 300 during the off-season.
Williams was over 330 pounds when Larry Fedora arrived and he's now down to just under 300 at the start of training camp
The former JuCo transfer excelled in his first season with the Tar Heels a he notched 54 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss with 2.5 sacks. The Missouri native seriously considered jumping to the NFL but was convinced to stay at UNC after meeting Larry Fedora's coaching staff.
Due to his productive first season in Chapel Hill, Williams finds himself on the Outland and Lombardi Award Pre-Season Watch Lists for his senior season with the Tar Heels.
Q: What was your first impression of head coach Larry Fedora?
“Really just from watching the Southern Miss bowl game. I knew that his team must have had a lot of respect for him even though they know he’s leaving to still go out there and play and win that football game. That day I had a tremendous amount of respect for him so when he came in he was well respected by me.”
Q: Was the first thing he said to you when you met him was that you needed to lose weight?
“When I met him the first time that’s what he told me. I was excited to have a coaching staff come in, was blessed to play for the past coaching staff but Coach Fedora is the best head coach I’ve had the chance to play for. I know I haven’t been playing that long but I love him to death and I can go to either he or [Defensive line] Coach (Deke) Adams about anything I need to talk about.”
Q: Did you embrace the different style of coaching right away?
“It was a uphill climb in the spring and by that I mean we were making progress every day. And then the first day of practice was a lot better and I felt like the defense was a lot stronger. We also had workouts during the summer where we were able to come and workout without the coaches. I think everyone has just gotten closer and working harder.”
Williams has seen his quality of life improve with the weight loss
Q: Can you tell a difference in the way you’ve played so far?
“Definitely. I was watching myself on film the other day and the first thing I said was, ‘Gah-lee, I look so much smaller.’ I just feel so much better just breathing wise and I’m able to run from drill to drill. I’m never bent over or out of breath. It’s great.”
Q: Do you think there will be any disadvantages?
“I don’t because at the same time I’ve maintained my strength so I’m still as strong as I was but I’m just quicker.”
Q: How did you approach losing the weight?
“I just started by eating right. If I was going to come back to school for another year then I was going to start by eating right and I started doing extra cardio every day. Once I started doing that I just saw the pounds fall off and it was the right type of pounds and not just water weight. Once I saw that happen I got excited and I just wanted to start working harder and harder.”
Q: What would a normal day of the new diet look like?
“In the morning would be something basic like waffles or a bowl of cereal. Then for lunch I would try to eat lean meat and maybe Subway. I would maybe go to Qdoba and get some rice to mix it up. I had a lot of grilled chicken, broccoli and salads.”