Q&A with Damian Williams

USC wide receiver Damian Williams was forced to sit out the 2007 season due to NCAA transfer rules but created quite the buzz with his playmaking ability on the practice field. Kevin Carden recently caught up with the talented wide receiver for an in-depth Q&A.

Q: After having to sit out the 2007 season due to NCAA transfer rules, how excited are you to get this upcoming season started?

A: It's time to go man. I haven't been out there for a long time so I am just trying to get my mind right. I am ready!

Q: Now that you have been at USC for a year how much more comfortable are you with the offensive system and the program as a whole?

A: I am really comfortable. I know all of the receiver positions right now, and Johnny Morton has been working with me a lot on just being kind of a filler guy and making sure that everyone knows where they are going. As long as I know all the plays, it makes it easier to get on the field.

Q: Can you talk about your experience of sitting out last season and what you learned from it?

Damian Williams makes the grab.
A: I got a chance to watch the guys that are in front of me: Patrick Turner, Vidal Hazelton and David Ausberry. I got to watch those guys go out there and give all that they had and I learned a lot from them. I learned different techniques from Vidal, different route-running skills from Patrick Turner and Dave kind of helped me with the offense. It was a good learning year for me, and being on the scout team, going against the first-team defensive really helped a lot. We have some of the best defensive backs in the country and being able to go against them everyday only makes you better.

Q: You have really created a buzz with your play on the practice field, how hungry are you to prove yourself in an actual game?

A: I am starving man, I'm starving and ready to eat. At first, it seemed like it was going to be forever until I got to play, but know I'm here and it just kind of hit me that it's my time. I just try to keep within myself and go out there and try and make the rest of the receiving corps better.

Q: Obviously there are many talented wide receivers on the roster. How do you see yourself fitting in and being used in the offense this season?

A: I know all the positions, so that can only help. I feel that I can bring a lot to the team as far as being versatile, so anytime that coach needs something I can do it. Whether it is going deep, being the possession guy or being a decoy, I feel I bring that versatility to the table that I can go out there and take care of business at every position.

Q: How would you describe yourself as a wide receiver?

A: Like I said, versatility is the big thing. I don't think a lot of players can go out and learn every position and be good at it, and I feel like I can do that. Whatever coach needs me to do, I feel like I can go out there and do it and there will never be a time where he will ask me ‘can you do this?' he will just say ‘Damian, go in and do this' because he has the faith in me that I can take care of business.

Williams working hard.
Q: I think a lot of people have targeted you as a player that could have a breakout year in '08. What are your goals and expectations for this season?

A: I really just want to go out there and give all that I have. Being a starter would be great after sitting out a year. If not, then I am just going to go out there and work my way to a starting position, whether it's this year, next year or the year after. I feel like it could be a good year for me. A lot of eyes are on Vidal, Patrick Turner, David Ausberry and Ronald Johnson because they played last year so I feel that if the focus is on them then I will be open a lot more than not.

Q: Can you talk about Mark Sanchez as a quarterback and leader of this team?

A: Mark is a good one. He is a real focused guy and when he is out there it is like he is in his own world and he's ready to go. I like that he comes out and gives us structure, even out here just doing 7-on-7, he runs stuff like the general and that is what the quarterback is supposed to do. Mark is going to have a great year.

Q: What does this team have to accomplish for the 2008 season to be considered a success?

A: We can't beat ourselves. The last couple of years we have kind of beat ourselves up a little bit. The main thing is we have to stay healthy, give 110% every game and make sure that we do the little things right. Last year, it wasn't big things that killed us, it was little minor details. We have to make sure that we are mentally tough and play within ourselves as a group.

Q: Last year the offense lacked a true go-to receiver. Do you think you can step in this season and fill that role?

A: I believe that I could do it. As a matter of fact, I think anybody in our receiving corps has the capability of doing it. We have a bunch of talent and I think anybody could step in and do that.

Q: This offseason you have stepped up and become more of a vocal leader on the practice field. Is that a role that you are comfortable with?

A: I have always been like that even in high school. I always felt that people need encouragement and I feel like if I am out there pushing people and letting them know that somebody is rooting for them then maybe they can do a little better.

Damian Williams putting in work in the weight room this offseason.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden
at kevin@scplaybook.com

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