Williams Wants To See Better Offense

Alabama's football team has a scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium today, and the big question is whether the defense can rebound from the poor performance it had against Alabama's offense a week ago. In the first scrimmage, Crimson Tide quarterbacks put up WAC-like numbers.

Alabama tight end Michael Williams is one of those who expects defensive improvement. But he's more concerned about offensive improvement. What? The offense had almost 700 yards of passing offense, nine touchdown passes against only two interceptions.

"It looked good on paper, but we didn't do everything that we could do," said Williams. "We weren't at our best. We need to be better on third downs, third and long, third and short."

Williams, a 6-6, 270-pound sophomore from Reform, can play a part in third and short and third and long.

"We had a good day in the first scrimmage," Williams said. "Then this week the defense was on. You have clashes. We have days and they have days."

This will be Bama's second and final scrimmage. The Crimson Tide opens the season in two weeks, Sept. 4, hosting San Jose State.

Williams said every scrimmage is important because "that's the coaches' best way of evaluating."

Williams said that Fall camp has been good. "It's a grind, as everybody knows, but you have to do it to be the best team, and that's what we're trying to do."

Alabama Coach Nick Saban recruits a lot of tight ends for two reason: one, tight end is important in Alabama's offense with two frequently and three occasionally in the game together; and, two, tight ends are big, athletic men who can be used at various positions.

"Our offense has two tight ends," Williams said. The ‘Y' is a traditional on-the-line tight end who blocks and is also a pass receiver. The ‘H' does a lot of movement and usually has blocking responsibilities on the middle linebacker, outside linebackers, and even safeties.

"You have to know how to play both to play on this team," Williams said.

Last year, Colin Peek was generally the ‘Y' and Preston Dial the ‘H.' Dial is back and considered the likely ‘H,' while Williams is thought to be the front-runner at ‘Y.'

Williams was asked how he saw himself as Peek's successor.

"I see myself making those same plays," he said. "That's how you have to envision it."

Williams played in all 14 games last fall as a redshirt freshman, and he had three starts-- against Mississippi State when Peek was injured, and against Chattanooga and Auburn when the Tide opened in a three-tight end set (Peek and Williams on the line, Dial at H-back).

Alabama's tight ends have two designations. Williams has at least three. "Mike, Michael, both," he said. "It doesn't matter.

"Mikey. Coach Saban calls me Mikey."

Although Williams may catch a few passes—he caught three last season for a total of 29 yards—it's reasonable to expect him to have a lot of run-blocking assignments for the likes of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. Alabama practice is good experience for that role.

Williams said, "The whole defensive line as a unit is difficult to block, but it's something you have to get done. You can't just dwell on them being good. You have to look at yourself as being good. You have to block everybody."

The last half of this week, Alabama football players have been student-athletes as classes started at The University Wednesday. "The start of classes means you don't have meetings at night," Williams said. "Everyone looks forward to the start of classes because it somewhat marks the end of fall camp."

Earlier in the week, Saban had said that players have to balance academics, football, and a social life. Williams said "Your social life has to take a back seat. Football and academics have to be at the top of the list."

Williams said the team got a boost last Monday when a handful of players led a team meeting. "It has picked up a lot," Williams said. "You get in camp and you get lackadaisical, you keep going and going and going, and before you know it, 12 or 13 days in, you start feeling your body wearing down, but our veterans stepped in, did a good job of telling everybody what the purpose of this team is, and it picked up real good."

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