Leslie Williams on the move again

Though most of the position changes on the Tide team were announced and tried out during spring practice, it's normal for one or two moves to be made over the summer. One of the better all-around athletes on the team, Leslie Williams has worked at several positions during his college career. And <I>BamaMag.com</I> has learned that the Georgia native will be moving again.

Back in January when Williams first rejoined the team, Tide Head Coach Dennis Franchione admitted the coaching staff wasn't sure where he would end up. Franchione's policy is to start athletes off at the position of their choice, and Williams wanted very much to give wide receiver a try. So the junior athlete spent spring drills working with Coach Kenith Pope and the Bama wideouts.

Williams' agility and height made him an intriguing prospect at wide receiver, but a lack of consistency catching the football has him headed back to defense.

But unfortunately--or fortunately, depending on your point of view--that experiment is over. At this point plans are to move Williams back to defense, and defensive end is his likely destination.

The coaches were intrigued by the prospect of Williams at wideout, reasoning that he could create matchup problems for smaller defensive backs. But consistency catching the football is an absolute necessity for any receiver hoping to get on the playing field. And Williams was never able to earn his coaches' trust in that regard.

Despite being a fast, agile athlete with very good height, Williams' role on the Tide team has been limited because of his problems putting on weight. He's tall but also relatively slender, and getting extra pounds to stick has not been easy.

Standing 6-5 and weighing around 210 pounds, Williams will need to add bulk before he can hope to contend for a starting job. But assuming he is able to make progress in the weight room, Williams' excellent speed and very good football instincts should allow him to contribute as a backup in pass rush situations.

To be effective on defense, Williams must hit the weights to add bulk.

In the meantime, his height, speed and ability to block passes and/or kicks should make him a candidate to help out on special teams.

A native of Stone Mountain, Georgia, Williams was a four-year starter in high school. Defensively he totaled 68 solo tackles, 25 assisted tackles, 17 sacks, six fumbles caused and two fumble recoveries his senior year. He saw limited action for the Tide as a true freshman in 1999, finishing with two tackles. The following season Williams saw no varsity action.

Williams left the Tide team for personal reasons, fairly soon after the new staff took over last winter. But when he called Coach Franchione a couple of months back, asking for permission to rejoin the team, the Tide Head Coach agreed to allow him back on the team as a scholarshipped athlete.

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