Williamson Confident in Offseason Work

Wide receiver Troy Williamson was confident that his offseason vision training and extra work catching passes will pay off when the games start. See what Williamson had to say about his busy personal and professional offseason, along with his ability to bounce back from dropped passes.

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is looking to start, but Troy Williamson is looking for a fresh start.

"I can't wait to get back on the football field and show the type of player I was drafted to be," Williamson said Friday after the team's first practice.

To call Williamson's 2006 season a struggle is an understatement. He was expected to take a step forward after being the No. 7 overall selection in 2005 and catching 24 passes for 372 yards as a rookie.

He started three games a rookie and 11 as a second-year player – when he caught 37 passes for 455 yards – but 2006 was a disappointment after entering the season with high expectations as a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver. Instead, he was credited with dropping as many passes as games he started, but he said his outlook is different this season.

"I have a mindset now that I have to have a short memory. A lot of different things happen in one football game," he said. "It's going to be a good year for me and I've got confidence that I'm going to make that happen."

He's worked hard to make it happen, too.

Williamson got married in February, went on a nine-day honeymoon in Hawaii and flew to Oregon after his vacation to spend time at a Nike vision center in an effort to correct the number of balls he had been dropping.

When he returned to Minnesota, he began a pass-catching routine that went into overtime. He spent time after practices catching literally thousands of balls launched from a JUGS machine. And, after purchasing an additional machine for his home, where he says he has caught thousands more, he is confident that he has exceeded 20,000 passes launched at him.

"After last season, I really had a lot of stuff coming into this season that I really looked forward to," he said, referencing his marriage and the fact that he is expecting a baby in January. "(My wife) is all about getting me better in my thing because I'm a supplier for my family."

Lucky for him, he said she does not read newspapers or magazines, which were chronicling his struggles last season.

"My wife isn't a paper reader, isn't a magazine reader, she's just my wife and I'm glad she isn't into football because she might just take stuff a little more serious than I would and I don't think none of you all would want that. She's just my wife and she's going to be on my side no matter what. That's one of the reasons I married her," he said.

"(Family) is something I always will put first because they were the reason I worked so hard to get where I'm at right now. My wife, my mom, all my brothers and sisters, they're all about me, asking me if I'm OK before they come after me and ask me, ‘Why did you drop so many balls?' That's just what family does. They were the ones that helped me through those times, them and some of my teammates."

He will still drop the occasional pass, like he did early in the first practice in Mankato on Friday morning, but he's confident he will bounce back from those errors more quickly. He did just that, making many more impressive catches throughout the remainder of practice.

"The pass that I dropped early, that was on me because I really wasn't focused on what I had to do. You cannot do that in this thing. The one thing (wide receivers coach George Stewart) tells me is every ball is a different pass and you've got to treat it as everything is different," he said.

Stewart, who is well-respected for mentoring players like Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens, has talked to Williamson about those players and their early years as well.

"(Rice) is the greatest guy that ever was a receiver in the National Football League. If he has a problem, who else wouldn't?" Williamson said.

Williamson has speed that Rice never had and said he should be considered the fastest player in the NFL, and he is anxious to show that he can be the elite player he was drafted to be. To do that, he will have to make an impact with his speed by catching the long passes.

"That's something that I worked hard on at camp and that's the reason I was drafted here. I would love the opportunity to catch any deep ball (over) any other pass in this offense," he said.

He sounds more confident, more comfortable – and anxious to move from the talking stage to the playing stage.

"I worked too hard in the offseason not to have a good year," he said.

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