NAME: Willie Williams
HOMETOWN: Miami, Fla.
CAREER GAMES/STARTS: 0/0
CAREER STATS: 0 tackles
SPRING REVIEW: Williams started the spring as a middle linebacker, but finished at weakside linebacker. He was on the second-team throughout the spring and showed big play ability at both positions. He did a great job in attacking the run and got off blocks well rarely missing a tackle.
2005 OUTLOOK: Williams appears to be a reserve linebacker to start the season and should excel on special teams. If the starters sustain injuries or have disappointing performances he will be right there waiting for the opportunity. Regardless of how often he will be on the field, he will be an impact player.
SPRING ARTICLE: Willie Says "Just Watch Me"
The team concluded spring practices last Saturday with the spring game at Lockhart Stadium.
"My adrenaline was going so much, I was looking at it like the offense was Florida State," Willie Williams said after Saturday's spring game. "I was just trying to get after everybody."
Willie Williams was all over the field at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale Saturday, living up to the hype in front of 8,500 fans. While Williams played most of the day with the second linebacker corps at right outside linebacker, he did rotate in with the first unit, relieving both MLB Leon Williams and WLB Jon Beason when necessary.
Williams displayed quickness, aggression, and most importantly a knack for the ball in almost every situation. Running back Charlie Jones found out the hard way as he was drilled twice by Williams, both tackles for negative four yards, and one despite an offensive holding penalty.
"I was just trying to read, react, and go," Williams said of the hits. "When I get going, I know what I can do."
He believes right outside linebacker will be the position where coaches use him most.
"That's where I fit right now," Williams said. "With our defensive line, the coaches will move me around, but they want to emphasize my speed so I'll be playing weak side most of the time."
Williams was ecstatic about the way the defense played commenting on how each person played their part and came up with tackles.
"If one guy didn't make the tackle, another guy did right behind him," Williams said. "We were moving all around as a unit."
Williams recorded three tackles in limited minutes. Two tackles were solo with one being for loss. The second tackle for loss did not count due to the holding call on the offense. Williams' massive hits drew excitement from the crowd and dazzled those in the press box.
On some plays, it seemed as though Williams was one step ahead of the offense, knifing through the offensive line and meeting the ball carrier at the point of the hand-off.
He also displayed fluidity in pass coverage, picking up backs in the flat and playing well in soft zone coverage. This kid definitely has tons of upside and is already a hit in the huddle. The rest of the defense reacts with intensity after Williams' hits and it seems as though there is a lot of good chemistry between he and his teammates.
Williams should certainly be a big contributor to this explosive Miami defense. He has the big play ability many linebackers have emphasized during their careers at Miami and reminds me of a young, more instinctive D.J. Williams (now with the Denver Broncos).
Willie definitely has the ability to become a player that can change the momentum and emotion of a game with one good lick on someone. Even though he is not listed as a starter right now, Williams is not concerned despite what fans might think. His philosophy is simple.
"I don't mind if I'm not the starter, just put me on the field and let me make a couple plays," Williams said. "You can take me out after that. I just love to hit, that's my thing. It's just like steak. I love steak. I love to hit. I love that."
Williams said he couldn't wait for the summer, where he'll have a couple months to think and prepare for the opening game against the Seminoles. And just like if there was steak on his plate, there's no doubt Williams will be hungry for the season opener September 5 against Florida State.
Spring Recap: LB Willie Williams
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