Smoke Signals

This week's column features a Q & A with former Seminole standout Brett Williams, who returned to Tally today following a two-month stint in Atlanta. The personable Williams covered a variety of topics, from the NFL Combine to Tuesday's Pro Workout to a pair of quarterbacks in (current) Chris Rix and (former) Adrian McPherson to the state of the program. "I think if we can just cut out the off-the-field mistakes and distractions like that, we are bound to get out of this thing," Williams said.

Brett Williams returned to Tallahassee today after a two-month stint in Atlanta, where he worked out and conditioned with NFL and college players. The 6-5, 320-pound Williams, considered by some as a late first-round to second-round selection in the upcoming draft, stopped by the home of teammate Jared Hetzel for a fish fry. He chatted with TheTerritory before dinner was served. Williams and others will work out for NFL personnel Tuesday at FSU.

Talk about the NFL combine.

"It was an interesting experience. I didn't do as well as I wanted to in the workout part but I did pretty well in the position drills and had a lot of great interviews. It's not as hectic actually as the Senior Bowl was as far as interviews. It was a lot more organized and structured. You don't have teams pulling you all over the place. The worst thing about the combine was probably all the physicals. We had a whole day that was nothing physicals. I had four MRIs done, six X-rays and now I have to fly back in April for another checkup on a foot surgery that I had in high school. I never had a problem with since – I have to fly back and get another interview. When they are going to invest that much money, they want to know everything. I add one (MRI) on my shoulder, two on my knees and one on my foot."

What teams have shown the most interest in you?

"I have had great interviews with Baltimore, the Jaguars, Cleveland, Kansas City, Philadelphia. It's so hard to tell. I talked to a couple guys who I have been working out with who are already in the league and one (player) was drafted by the Raiders and he didn't even have an interview with them. So, that kind of throws out that theory (laughing). The Eagles are coming on the 20th after pro day to work out me, Montrae (Holland) and Todd (Williams)."

Any idea on your draft status?

"I am getting a lot of late first, early second – that's what my agent (Pat Dye, Jr.) is telling me. Like I said, you can be projected late first and end up going in the third round of the draft. So many things can happen. I know Todd did very well (at combine). I know Montrae (Holland) did very well. I didn't see what Talman (Gardner) and those guys did because I was working out with the linemen. Todd ran very well. He weighed in at 340 and was in really good shape. Both are very strong guys and I think Todd really helped himself out. I feel good. I was trying to lose some fat and gain some muscle. My weight stayed about the same (320). I am just trying to adjust it. I've been in Atlanta since Jan. 4 (Chip Smith). It was good. Monday and Tuesday we do running and lifting. A lot of emphasis on over-speed and resistence work, bungee cords and stuff like that. Pretty high-tech stuff. Wednesday we had a pool workout. That was probably the toughest workout of all. You are not used to swimming. They put a bungee cord on you and you are swimming and not going anywhere. It's kind of frustrating."

What do you want to accomplish on pro day Tuesday?

"I just want to show them. ... I am not going to put up any impressive number on the 225 (pound bench press) just because my shoulder (injury). I just want to show them I can bench and that my shoulder is not bothering me anymore. It's just weak right now. I didn't bench (at combine). I couldn't bench without a lot of pain until a month ago. So I've had to pretty much had to start over. I just want to show them my shoulder is not bothering me anymore. I just have to get it stronger. I want to run a 5-flat, 4.9 40. That's what I am aiming for. I've had so many offensive line coaches in the league tell me they don't even care about all that stuff. They say a lot of that's for the scouts and the fluff. They want to see how you can play and how you move during the drills."

Is it kind of like being recruited all over again?

"It's kind of like being recruited but it's more like. ... I would say you are being dissected. Everybody said that after you left your physicals, just the way they talked about you. They split all the doctors up from each team, like groups of five in six different rooms. You had to go to each room and it took all day. They would sit you in the middle of the room up on a table. One guy would read all of your medical history to them. Talk about you like your dead. Like this patient has a history of blah, blah, blah. You are just sitting there in your shorts. They are all just staring at you. Once the guy gets done reading the report, they all take notes and then they make you lay on the table. You will have two guys jerking one shoulder, two guys jerking on the other, both knees getting worked on at the same time and they are all telling you to relax. They grab your neck. It's ridiculous (laughing)."

Let's talk about FSU. What do you think this team needs to do to rebound from the past two season?

"We've had so many bad breaks with injuries and stuff happening off the field that's uncalled for and ridiculous. I think if we can just cut out the off-the-field mistakes and distractions like that, we are bound to get out of this thing. It's a slump for us but it wouldn't be a slump for a lot of people. But we had a great recruiting class and things are going to get back on track. We hit a little bump on the road. Out of my recruiting class, we lost a lot of people to academics and I think that hurt us a lot overal. I am not worried at all. It's all the offensive line next year on how good they can be. We will have Greg (Jones) back. We should be pretty good next year."

Talk about Chris Rix. You were one player who defended him during his struggles. Have you talked to him lately?

"I called him on Christmas Day. That was the last time I really talked to him. He knows he messed up. You don't have to tell him that. I just tried to tell him I was there for him and praying for him and stuff like that. He made a mistake. He's not the kind of guy. ... the mistakes he has made, he has always come back and stepped up a notch and that's what he's going to do now. He's going to be a great quarterback before he leaves here. I think when it's all said and done and he's gone, people will forget about all this other stuff."

What was your reaction to the news that Adrian McPherson was recently charged with gambling among other troubles?

"That surprised me just coming from him. The fact that was him with the gambling stuff. Hopefully, he was betting on us. That would have really hurt a lot of guys on the team if we was betting against us and trying to throw a game. I never did think that was the case nor did I think he was that kind of person. He made some bad decisions. A young kid and the money looks exciting and he slipped up."

Who impresses you on FSU's returning offensive line?

"The tackles – Ray Willis and Alex Barron. I think they can be better than me or Todd (Williams) or whoever we've had over there. Alex is an unbelievable athlete who just needs to get some time in there. When he's in practice and he's on, you can't do nothing with him. You can't get by him. Ray is so intense and brings that physical ability to the line. They will be a great combo. They need some of the younger guys in the middle to step up. I know David (Castillo) got some good playing time. He tends to get injured a little bit but if we can just keep him healthy we will be okay at center. He did a good job for us. So, it's up to the guards and we have enough talent there. They will have to take their licks in there."

Do you see coach Bowden slowing down?

"Not really. I don't think I have seen him slow down at all. If anything, with the coaches leaving, coach Richt and coach Amato, I think he has had to get involved a little more than he was when I first got here. I think he's going to coach until God calls him (laughing). That's how I think of coach Bowden. I don't think he will ever leave."

Top Offensive Tackles by NFL Blitz

1. Kwame Harris, Stanford *

2. Jordan Gross, Utah

3. Brett Williams, Florida State

4. George Foster, Georgia

5. Tony Pashos, Illinois

6. Jon Stinchcomb, Georgia

7. Ben Johnson, Wisconsin

8. Steve Sciullo, Marshall

9. Will Ofenheusle, Tennessee

10.Wayne Hunter, Hawaii *

11. Todd Williams, Florida State

12. Jordan Black, Notre Dame


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