Good things come in short[er] sizes

CLEMSON - DeShawn Williams is out to prove that a defensive tackle doesn't always have to be one of the tallest guys on the field.

Listed generously at 6-1, Williams likens his game to a couple of all-time greats at his position.

"I wanted to grow up and be like, I'm 6-3," Williams said.

But he's not, probably never will be.

So what?

Neither were John Randle and Warren Sapp, the two former defensive tackles that Williams lists as his football idols.

"They're 6-1, 6-2. John Randle, what I love about him is his motor. It just keeps running and running and running. He's very technique-wise. I got some pass rush moves from him," Williams said. "Warren Sapp, the same thing, his motor.

"They have a little nasty to them. That's what coach [Dan] Brooks wants, for us to have a little nasty to us."

Williams and his fellow "6-footer for life" Grady Jarrett pride themselves on their lack of height.

"We're not 6-foot-2, 6-3 guys like Jarvis [Jenkins] and [Brandon Thompson], so we've got to use our leverage for the good," Williams said. "We get under the offensive linemen's pads -- they can't move us off the ball. We took a lot of pride in that this offseason."

Throughout preseason camp the two sophomore defensive tackles have continued to rotate in and out of the first two defensive tackle spots with Josh Watson.

According to Williams, none of the three get all that worked up about who's on the field with the first-team. He said all three can rotate and play both techniques, either the one or the three.

"We made a little bet," Williams said, "To just compete. We all want to start. If you play, defense or offense, you want to start. We're just making each other better.

"Whoever starts, we're not going to be down about it. The system, rotation that we have with coach Brooks, everybody is going to play."

They all trust Brooks, who's entering his fourth-year as the defensive tackles coach for the Tigers.

"We're like his little kids," Williams said. "He taught us a lot about football. In high school, I didn't know as much as I know now. If I knew what I know now in high school, man, it'd be a lot easier.

"He's probably the greatest defensive line coach, by far. He's a great teacher. He'll sit with you 1-on-1 and give you the plays. He has a lot of patience. I wouldn't have that patience, with people messing up all the time. He's a great coach."

And Brooks makes his players better.

As a freshman, Williams finished with 20 tackles and two tackles for loss in 138 snaps over 14 games [one start].

"6-footer for life" No. 99 hopes he can build off those numbers in 2012. Top Stories