Williams Not Easily Satisfied

After sitting out one game due to a suspension, Jamar Williams came back to the field more inspired than ever. Against Oregon State, he played arguably his best game in the maroon and gold and consequently won the Pac-10 defensive player of the week honors. For many, that would be enough to feel a sense of redemption and content. However, for the senior linebacker, that stellar performance just increased his appetite for excellence on the field.

"I'm still hungry (laughs)," said the 6-1 236 Jamar Williams. "I still don't feel like I got enough playing time, because I sat out the fourth quarter. After sitting out a week, it seemed like (sitting out) a year. I learned a lot from it (the suspension). Sometimes you take for granted what you got, and now I'm gonna play every game like it's my last game of the season."

And what a game performance it was. 13 total tackles, a sack, an interception and a forced fumble. "It's a great honor," he remarked on his latest accolade. "Just to come back and be named Pac-10 defensive player of the week, after sitting out a week, I couldn't ask for anything better. I felt I executed pretty well in the game. A lot of guys said I should sit out games more often (laughs)…"

Last season, the senior played the ‘Devil' position (now called "Will'), which is a hybrid between a safety and a linebacker. This year, Williams has been moved to the ‘SAM' (strong side) spot. Fittingly or not, he collected only four tackles in all the games leading up to the team's conference opener last Saturday. Does he attribute that fact to the growing pains of his new role?

"I'm at the edge of the defense making sure that nothing gets around," he explained. "That's gonna be a big job with Reggie Bush this week, because he likes to get that edge. I also have a good opponent to go against in (tight end) Dominic Byrd…it wasn't that I had a slow start. Just in the first few games, because of our game plan, I was still in the action just not getting a lot of tackles. I felt I played great the first two games, but I was in a lot of positions to make a play last week, than I was before that."

Naturally, the now rejuvenated linebacker is up for the challenge that USC will pose this week. "It's gonna be a great atmosphere," Williams stated. "This is what you dream of as a little kid – having College Gameday at your stadium, playing the number one team in the country in a packed stadium. You can't play against a better opponent. You have a Heisman Trophy candidate, a Heisman Trophy winner. This is our chance to make something happen."

While he acknowledges all the attributes they bring to the table, Williams feels that sticking to his team's strategy will net the desired results. "There are so many concerns and they have so many weapons – any second they can score," he said of the Trojans. "In their games there were a lot of mistakes on (opposing) defense, and one little mistake can turn into seven points quick. We need to get everything right and execute the game plan."

"We're gonna have the same game plan pretty much," he continued. "We'll try to get after them and do a little better job. When you look at the films of other teams they played, there's a lot of assignment errors on defense. With a team like USC, you can't have any errors or they will exploit it. Last year there were a lot of errors on our part and in two minutes they scored 30 points. The biggest thing is executing our game plan, everybody fitting their gaps, and hopefully we can win the game."

No matter who's the opponent, there's always a tendency to go outside one's role in pursuit of what could be a game-changing play. Williams contends that matters need to be kept simple, and sticking to that thinking can lead to success. "If we do or job, they won't have anywhere to go," he explained. "A lot of times you got guys out of their gaps thinking they can do this or do that. You just have to do your job and hopefully the coaches' game plan will work. It all starts in practice and I think we had a great practice today (Tuesday)."

Before the Oregon State contest last week, there was no one more prepared to take the field than Jamar Williams. It's hard to believe that anyone can claim that distinction over the linebacker this week as well. "This is it – I'm ready," he said with a strong sense of determination. "This is what we've been talking about since last year, going up against a team like this – you can't ask for a better atmosphere."

We can probably also not ask for a better display from Williams than he had last Saturday, but we sure won't be surprised if this driven player does end up topping that performance…

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