Woods Sees Williams Making a Splash

The San Diego Chargers snatched the marquee player from the undrafted free agent pool when they signed WR Jeremy Williams. A projected mid-round pick, Williams fell through the cracks to the delight of San Diego's coaches. Now, as Tulane receivers coach Thomas Woods explains, Williams is ready to put on a show in training camp.

Thomas Woods has seen a lot of players come and go during his 14-year coaching career, but few as productive and gung-ho as Jeremy Williams. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound receiver finished his four-year college career with 197 catches, 2,807 yards and 19 scores. Those numbers would have been even better, but he missed the final seven games of his junior season with a knee injury.

Tulane exploited Williams' versatility and Woods expects San Diego to follow suit.

"I think he can play anywhere," Woods said. "He can be an inside receiver or an outside receiver. He's great on the inside. He's tough, has great hands and runs precise routes."

WR Jeremy Williams
Bill Haber/AP
The Green Wave runs a West Coast offense, which allowed Williams to create mismatches over the middle. Although the Chargers don't run a traditional West Coast offense, there are enough West Coast elements in Norv Turner's system to make Williams feel at home.

"It's an offense a lot of teams are running: the Chicago Bears, the Denver Broncos, the Minnesota Vikings, etc.," Woods said. "The system we ran at Tulane is a lot like what you see in the NFL and it gets players prepared for the next level."

Part of adapting to the Big Leagues is getting re-acclimated on special teams. In San Diego, Williams will be expected to cover and return kicks as he tries to win a spot on the back end of the roster. At Tulane, the last thing the coaches ever wanted was to see their star player risking an injury on special teams.

When Williams was allowed to play special teams, the results were sensational.

"I remember last season's game against UTEP," Woods said. "We needed to make a play [trailing 10-0], so we put Jeremy back there to return the kickoff. It was his first time doing it and he brought it back 88 yards for a score. We should have played him there a little more than we did."

Despite authoring so many big plays at Tulane, Williams went undrafted. Woods feels strongly that Williams should have been drafted, but he knows better than most that crazy things happen in the draft. After all, Woods was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the eighth round of the 1990 NFL Draft after being projected to go much higher.

That said, Woods knows Williams has work to do in order to prove his critics wrong.

"Jeremy's probably going to need to get a little stronger," he said. "There were some scouts coming in who questioned his ability to go across the middle and catch the ball, which I don't question at all. I think he's a tough kid, but that's one of the things people were concerned about with Jeremy playing on the next level."

One area that needs no improvement is Williams' off-the-field behavior. He doesn't drink or hang out late at night. According to Woods, Williams represented the program well during his four-year stay.

Also, Williams was already in graduate school last year and was taking six credit hours. He is a smart player who should have no problem picking up the complexities of the Chargers' offense.

Will Williams be one of camp's surprise players? Discuss in the message boards.

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