Williams Nears End Of Alabama Career

There is no 2012 Alabama football player who has seen action in more games than tight end Michael Williams. He is part of the nine-man class of fourth and fifth year senior players on scholarship. Williams will play in his final regular season game and his final game at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. He is determined to have a good finish.

Michael Williams was home with his family in Reform for Thanksgiving Thursday, one of those Alabama players who lived close enough to home (about 30 minutes, he said) who was able to do that. Players not close enough to go home had time after Thursday morning practice at the homes of Crimson Tide coaches, including Head Coach Nick Saban.

"It's good to go home and eat with the family," he said. He has done the Saban Thanksgiving in the past.

"I like my mom's cooking," he said. "I know that's my coach, but my mom's cooking is better."

Thursday evening he was back with "my second family" and the focus was back on Saturday's game.

Alabama will host Auburn Saturday, and a lot is on the line, including the state championship. The bigger picture is that Bama is in position to play for the Southeastern Conference championship and, perhaps, the national title.

Alabama is 10-1 overall and 6-1 in SEC games and ranked second in the nation. The visiting Tigers are 3-8 overall and 0-7 in league games. CBS will televise the game beginning at 2:30 p.m. CST Saturday.

Williams has played in 51 games, one more than fellow fifth-year senior Barrett Jones. He is the only Tider to have played in every game since the start of the 2009 season, and Bama has a record of 46-5 in those contests. Williams has started 38 games. He has been a part of two national championship teams.

He is aware that the end is near, and that he'll be playing his final game in Bryant-Denny Stadium against Auburn. And he can't believe it has gone by so fast.

Williams said, "When you first come in they tell you, 'Do what you can, and do it now, because it's going to go fast.' You don't believe it. Then you look back going into your last year, your fifth year, and then it's your last game. You look back and you remember the first day you walked in, the first game you went to, the first game you started. It seems like it was yesterday. It was four or five years ago. It's an eye-opening experience, but it should be very exciting."

Williams, who was one of Alabama's offensive players of the week in the Tide's last outing, a 49-0 win over Western Carolina, has had another solid season. Although best known for his blocking, Williams has caught 18 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns.

Williams said he has been biding his time as a receiver (although he had a good year last year, too, with 16 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns). "I think I stepped in and did everything to the best of my ability," he said. "But I've still got a long way to go, so it all depends. But it's been good so far."

Saban said, "Michael is a fantastic blocker and, you know, he has really good hands. He's athletic. He was a very good high school basketball player. He's made some good catches this year and hopefully we'll be able to continue doing that. When we run the ball effectively he's one of the guys that becomes difficult for the linebackers to find out there, especially on play action passes. That's one of the things he's been most effective on.

Williams came to Alabama as a defensive player, but following his freshman season (in which he was redshirted) he was moved to tight end.

He started out lined up behind eventual All-America Courtney Upshaw at jack linebacker. "So I'm kind of glad I got switched to tight end," he said. "We all had the same mindset coming in, thinking we were going to come in and play," Williams said.

Although that didn't happen, he said that 2008 recruiting class began to help in the 2009 undefeated, national championship year. "We came in with an attitude of ‘We'll do whatever we can to help the team,' and it all worked out. This senior class together, fifth-year and fourth-year guys, have had a great run so far. And we're trying to finish this one out strong – for each other, for this team, and for Coach Saban. We're going to try to finish it strong. Finish it."

He pointed to the men in that 2008 recruiting class who have gone on to the NFL, many of them first round draft choices.

"None of us knew it coming in, but we all came in with the same attitude, of winning and changing the culture around this place. And we did that."

Williams hopes to get his chance in the NFL, but if it doesn't work out to continue in football, he has done another thing he came to Alabama to accomplish. He has his degree in business management and said "I'll go and make a career, whatever it is."

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