Exclusive: Lions' Mike Williams Ready To Roll

Exclusive interview with Lions' second-year receiver Mike Williams yields a player that is intent on becoming the receiver everyone believed he was after being drafted 10th overall last year. More inside, including Williams' past experience with head coach Rod Marinelli.

ALLEN PARK - One noticeable difference in Lions 2005 first-round draft pick Mike Williams is his physical condition. Williams looked slimmer, faster and quicker in the opening session of Detroit's 3-day voluntary minicamp.

"When I found out that Martz (was going to be the offensive coordinator), well obviously 230 (pounds) just doesn't fit the deal. I'm around that now but I'm still going to go down. I'm trying to catch Roy (Williams), so if I'm right around 220-pounds, then that'll be alright."

"I've got some bets going on," joked Williams.

"Everyone thinks it'll be 225-pounds. But who knows? I just know that you've got to be able to run and you've got to be in shape and you've got to be able to run on play one as you can on play sixty. If I going to get where I want to be personally - and that's a starter the whole year and put up big time numbers and do the things that I know I'm supposed to do and that I'm expected to do - then I've got to be in shape."

Williams said there was nothing surprising about the minicamp because he expected it to be grueling. He didn't come with that expectation because of what he had heard, but because of first-hand knowledge. Williams talked about being thrown out of Tampa Bay practices as a kid growing up in nearby Plant City, FL., by then Bucs defensive line Coach Marinelli.

"I've known Coach Marinelli for years, like how he is and what he expects and things like that, its nothing new to me. He used to send the ball boys to kick me and my friends out of (Buccaneers) practices, so I already knew how he was."

In fact, Williams gave Marinelli some information on what he should expect when he arrived in Detroit. "When he got here I told him - he called me when he got hired - and I told him it wasn't going to be easy because this group, even before (I got here), was stuck in their ways and things like that. We both said if we work at it, it'll happen."

Williams said that he knows the new regime means business and he welcomes the change in focus.

"Marinelli, as well as Coach Martz, is 'either our way or we'll get you out of here.' I know Coach Marinelli, so I know he means it and what I've heard about Coach Martz in the past, I'm sure he means it too. So its kind of a 'be accountable' kind of thing and its a lot more across the board than it was last year and the guys they see that. The Coaches have great energy and the guys are feeding off it."

It appears from Williams comments and his knowledge of the Coach and his personality that he is counting on Williams to take more of a leadership role.

"He's not one of those guys that's looking for a rah-rah and talking kind of leader," said Williaims. "He knows me and there's no B.S. He just expects me to be the player that he knows and I am and that I was before I came here. If he doesn't see what he likes, he's going to let me know."

At least on this first day of minicamp, Williams looked, acted and sounded like the leader Coach Marinelli is counting upon.


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