Catching up with Brett Williams

Starting tackle Brett Williams plans to make the most of his summer in preparation for the upcoming season. But Williams gets a break this weekend, flying to Tempe, Ariz., for the Playboy All-American photo shoot. After that nice reprieve, Williams will be back in the weight room with an eye cast towards FSU's opener against Iowa State. "We are expected to be the best OL in the nation this year and that's what is pushing us," Williams said.

Brett Williams plans to make the most his summer, concentrating specifically on strength and conditioning in preparation for the upcoming season. A smiling Williams also had another good reason to push himself a tad extra during Thursday's workout.

Williams flies out to Tempe, Ariz. Friday morning for the Playboy All-American photo shoot this weekend.

"I am trying to get slimmed up real quick," Williams said and laughed.

At 6-6 and 317 pounds, Williams actually has the perfect physique -- for an offensive lineman, that is. Combine that stature with Williams' talent and resolve, and it's safe to assume the former Kissimmee Osceola High standout will earn his share of honors this season. But that's not what drives Williams during 90-degree afternoons.

"It's good to have a reward after being here four years to have something like that (Playboy All-American), but we still have a long way to go," Williams said. "This year is the biggest year, in terms that it's my senior year and we should have a pretty good team also. That's what I am really focusing on. We have a lot of goals this year."

Of course, a national championship tops Williams' list. And, if the Seminoles are to erase last season's struggles and contend for the nation's top prize, look for the Seminoles' offensive line to help lead the charge.

All five starters return, paced by Williams at split tackle. Williams was voted the Atlantic Coast Conference's top blocker last season (Jacob's Blocking Trophy), leading the Seminoles in three major offensive line categories: a season grade of 91 percent, 48 pancake blocks and 30 key blocks, all this despite missing the final two regular-season games against Florida and Georgia Tech with a knee injury. Williams returned to play in FSU's victory over Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl.

"We are expected to be the best OL in the nation this year and that's what is pushing us," Williams said. "We know it's up to the seniors up front to get this offense going. Look at our offense. On paper, we look unstoppable. It's just going to come down to if we can pull together and execute. If we can execute, I don't think anybody can stop us. It's just going to come down to how we jell during two-a-days and how quickly we pick things up."

That's why Williams' points to the offseason as a vital component to the Seminoles' success.

Williams and fellow offensive linemen Montrae Holland and Milford Brown recently returned from a speed camp in New Orleans. Another speed camp is planned next month in Tallahassee. Williams is so focused about his preparation that he plans to stay in Tally the entire summer. Williams also is just two classes shy of earning his degree in Sports Management.

"I am not going home at all," Williams said. "Well, I might go home for a weekend, but that's about it. Last year I went home for about two weeks then I came back. If I go home I would just sit around and eat mom's cooking. I really don't work as hard compared to when you are here (at FSU). It's a lot easier to push yourself when you have your teammates around you. Back home, you are usually by yourself. You get in much better work here."

When Williams looks around, he also finds it hard to believe that it's already his senior season. Younger brother Blake also is at FSU and currently is recovering from back and knee surgery.

It just seemed like yesterday I was getting my head shaved (first-year). It's crazy," Williams said.

"I remember getting here with Jason Whitaker, Ross Brannon and all those guys and they are like, 'Man, you have five years left of this.' But before you know it, it's almost over with. One season left and I will be done. I still stay in touch with those guys. I talk to Ross a lot. I think I heard Whit (Whitaker) is getting married. (Jarad) Moon moved back to Panama City. They are like the people who taught me everything when I first got here. I am still good friends with them."

Williams also believes similar bonds should help the Seminoles this season. FSU was struck by tragedy and injury last season, starting with Devaughn Darling's sudden death following an offseason workouts 15 months ago. FSU never recovered, struggling on the field and failing to win 10 games or finish among the nation's top five for the first time since 1987.

"We've been through a lot more bad times than I think the teams before us did," Williams said.

"I think anytime you go through bad times the true character of a team shows. I think that has brought us a lot closer together. I definitely have a feeling we are a closer team than teams were in the past when I first got here. It just seemed like after something happened, okay, let's put it behind us, something else happened. It was like a snowball last year. Hopefully, we got all that out of our system, all that bad luck behind us and we will be ready to go this year."

Williams returns from Vegas on Sunday night, and plans to be back in the weight Monday. While the Playboy All-American team won't be available in newsstands until this summer, Williams jokingly said, "Hopefully, I can get them to just send my mother a copy of the team picture -- and not the magazine."

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