Williams No Longer Blocking Specialist
"I definitely see myself as an all-around tight end," said Michael Williams. "I'm not a guy who just blocks, or a guy who comes off the field on third downs any more."
Williams has 27 catches for 320 yards and three touchdowns in 40 career Alabama games (27 starts). "I'm. looking forward to being more of a leader."
While he is entrenched at the tight end spot, Williams knows the H-back position is far from settled heading into fall camp. He said, "In the spring, you had Brian Vogler working with the ones, and you also had Harrison Jones working with the ones, Then, Brent Calloway moved over from defense. It's going to be a position battle you see go all through camp, and hopefully we will get it settled before the first game."
Williams had a lot of other things to say, on topics ranging from quarterback A.J. McCarron's development on and off the field to which new members of the team have caught his eye during summer workouts.
McCarron's much ballyhooed -- albeit, brief -- battle on Twitter with LSU's "Honey Badger," star defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, was something the junior quarterback came to Williams and other team leaders about the day it happened, and he came to apologize.
"We handled it internally," Williams said. "We talked to him about it, and he cleaned it up. We let AJ know that we don't engage in back-and-forth on Twitter, and he knows that. It's handled."
Williams added that he saw a difference last year in the McCarron of the first LSU game (a 9-6 overtime loss at home) and the BCS title game offensive MVP.
"He was too tensed up the first game," Williams noted of his quarterback. "He realized after that (loss) that everything was not on his back. The coaches always trusted him, or they wouldn't have started him."
It's always interesting to ask veteran players which newcomers have stood out to them thus far in summer 7-on7 unofficial "skeleton" pass drills. Williams had a long and interesting list, beginning with a pair of true freshman linebackers.
"I think Ryan Anderson and Reggie Ragland will both play, as backups on defense and maybe as starters on special teams," Williams said, before quickly adding that "I'm not in charge of the depth chart,," a reference to a topic that veteran reporters have learned not to ask Nick Saban about.
Others who have caught Williams' eye whether during spring practice or summer drills include wide receivers Amari Cooper (who was also mentioned by Saban as a possible contributor), "Amari has all the talent in the world," Williams said.
Cyrus Jones, and 6-4 Eddie Williams, who Williams said "has the best leaping ability I've seen in a while." (Bear in mind Williams played three years with Julio Jones.)
Of A-Day game MVP T.J. Yeldon, Williams was cautious but optimistic. "He has the talent to (contribute), but it's a wait-and-see thing."
Others Williams mentioned were sophomore linebacker Trey DePriest and sophomore wide receiver Christion Jones, who Williams said "is a great kick-returner, but he's really coming on as a receiver."
Williams, a stand-out basketball player at Pickens County High in Reform, was asked if he ever considered helping out Anthony Grant's team when that squad had low post depth issues the past two seasons. "No," he said. "Not possible. I didn't think twice about it. I hung up my basketball shoes after my last high school game."
One theme of this Alabama off-season has been the battle against complacency coming off a national title, a battle the 2010 team lost according to coaches and players, including Williams.
"We have the talent to be the best team," he noted,. "We know we can be the best team, but the best team doesn't always win. We still have to show up and compete.
"A lot of us on this (2012) team were on that 2010 team. We know what happened with complacency and leadership, and we are determined not to let that happen again."
One reason that won't be difficult this time around is Saban, of whom Williams noted, "We always talk about being focused. I've never seen him yawn in a meeting. Not once in five years. He does his job, he coaches us, and he teaches us to be men."
And apparently one way Saban does that is by never letting his players see him yawn.
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