Willie Says "Just Watch Me"

Highly touted linebacker Willie Williams spoke to the media today for the first time since arriving on campus in the fall. Williams redshirted last year and is currently competing for playing time at middle linebacker.

What are your thoughts about the 2005 season?

Basically just watch me in the season. Just watch me.

What are we going to see in the season?

I am planning on bringing a lot of action. I missed out last year from injuries and everything so I am planning on going out there to show what I can do.

How tough was it last year?

It was real tough. Coming in was tough and then when I got hurt was real tough. That really hurt me because Miami put themselves on the line by taking me and I thought it was my fault that I got hurt even though it wasn't. I put a lot of pressure on me so I am looking to being an impact player this year.

How does it feel to be out on the practice field?

It feels tremendous. I am running out there and I feel great. I am just out there making plays.

Do you think you can earn a starting spot?

It is basically up for grabs in the spring and summertime. Everything is up for grabs. I am competing for that starting spot.

What is the difference between here and high school?

The difference is the speed and size. You just have to adjust to it and I feel like I have adjusted. I just have to learn to get the playbook down pact. It is like everything is getting slower and slower to me like in high school. I see myself getting better every day.

How did you break your thumb last year

I jammed it in my truck when it was raining. I messed it up in high school too, but it is okay now.

How much did last year help you in watching the team practice and play?

It just made me so hungry knowing that I could not be out there to help my team. For me to see my teammates and my team lose games from the sideline was tough for me because I basically played a role in that since I could not help them in certain situations.

Have you grown as a person in the past year?

I feel I have tremendously. Educationally, socially, and everything. I think I have definitely matured with my communication skills and being settled down.

It seems like you are around the ball on every play, do you feel that?

You guys might see it like that, but I am not where I want to be. I just want to get to every play. Everybody is saying that I am doing a good job, but I am not where I want to be.

What do you think about getting a lot of support from your teammates when you are on the field?

A lot of the guys are happy to see me back on the field running around because they know I missed out on last season.

Do you feel like tomorrow when you put the pads on you will have something to prove?

I don't feel I have too much to prove because a lot of people already know what I am capable of. I feel like when I put the pads on, it is time to go to war.

You seem ready to hit somebody

I am just so anxious right now. The last time I put on pads was before the Peach Bowl. The last time I have played was in high school.

Why did Miami make the right decision with you?

I am going to make sure they made the right decision because everything I did wrong I am working on trying to make things right. I know I have done some things in the past and made some mistakes, but I can't fault anyone but myself.

Does it help that you have a good support group?

I have a lot of people that are supporting me from family, friends, teachers, students, peers, and coaches. For me being put in the media already, a lot of people already know who I am so I have tremendous support.

You are monitored very closely here, is that good?

I feel that it is good and it is the best thing for me because who needs a lot of time? Regardless, I like being monitored because it keeps me on the straight line with everything. Even if I wasn't the system that we are in here doesn't allow for a lot of free time.

How stressful was the time when the story broke on signing day to the time you were admitted?

It was very stressful. I can't even say what that felt like. I made mistakes in the past and I thought it was all over at some point. But then, UM gave me a chance. Now I have to prove myself.

What are your thoughts on the incidents that you had?

A lot of my incidents in the past and mistakes that I made result in that if I could turn back the hands of time, I would not have hung out with the people that I did. But now I have grown from that.

Do you consider yourself a lucky guy with how things have worked out now?

I consider myself a very lucky guy. Who knows that someone could have this many chances and now I have one more chance. When I came here, I could have easily not been accepted.

Do you feel it was fair for the university to have certain guidelines for you?

I think it was fair because they were taking a chance on me. Of course they were going to have to put a restriction or some sort of punishment on me.

                    


HEAD COACH LARRY COKER ON WILLIAMS

"I think he has improved, but it is hard to say because he has not played very much," head coach Larry Coker said. "What I have seen, I have really liked. He has some skills and a knack of really finding the football. To say how far he has come, we will know more in the spring."

Williams is currently second on the depth chart to senior Leon Williams. Does Willie have a legitimate shot of beating out Leon?

"Everybody has a legitimate shot," Coker said. "Jobs are open, but again we have all of our linebackers back. We didn't lose any linebackers and we have a starting middle linebacker back. We are really pleased with that position. If he does not start, I do expect him to play."

A reporter asked Coker if Williams has changed.

"The Willie Williams that I know did not have to come any way," Coker said. "He was a good person when I recruited him and he is a good person now. To say that he has really had to change since I have known him, I wouldn't say that he has really changed to my knowledge. He was solid then and he is solid now."

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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