Williams a big hit in the jumbo package

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
9:10
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- There are five 300-pounders lined up in the trenches already. So what's another big body then?

[+] EnlargeJesse Williams
Beth Hall/US PresswireAlabama nose tackle Jesse Williams has become a fearsome presence as a fullback in short-yardage packages.
When it's Jesse Williams with a full head of steam coming at you, it's something all right. Alabama's menacing nose guard, who comes in at 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds, has seen time on the other side of the ball at fullback this season in the jumbo package.

Alabama's linemen and running backs are fond of the new personnel grouping. The defense, on the other hand, might not be big fans.

"The defense just sucks in to him so we can score a lot of the times without getting hit," said UA starting running back Eddie Lacy, who has benefitted from Williams on the goal line package a few times this season.

Alabama using its nose guard as a lead blocker in goal line situations is nothing new. Terrence Cody was the last one to do it, clearing the way for Mark Ingram.

Said UA guard Anthony Steen, "Shoot, I love it. I know I can always count on him."

Williams said he has begged coaches to let him catch the ball on offense, something Steen isn't hoping to see anytime soon. Leave that to the professionals, he said.

"Oh God," Steen said when asked about the prospect of an AJ McCarron to Williams connection. "I doubt that. I definitely don't see that happening."

Williams was serious, though. He likes playing fullback but it could be better.

"It's a lot of fun," he said. "It's going to get a lot funner if they give me a chance to grab the ball, but that looks doubtful. I'll keep to blocking for now."

If called upon as a receiver, Williams thinks he's up for the challenge.

"I played rugby back in Australia," he said. "I'm sure I can catch the ball."

Williams has gotten used to taking the punishment, learning a new position this season as he transitioned inside from defensive end to nose guard. He said the toll it takes physically is different, but he likes the way it's gone thus far.

"Usually the biggest guys are all in those trenches are down there and when they come they bring a bit of thump," he said. "But I've been good so far, nothing too serious just bumps and bruises. So far, so good."

Lacy doesn't want any bruises of his own. That's why he wouldn't bite when asked to tell a story about Williams. He likes Williams blocking for him, not picking on him.

"I probably wouldn't say it because he's a lot bigger than I am," Lacy joked.

Lacy said Williams is without a doubt the most unique player he's every been on a team with. The Australian went the junior college route to get to Alabama and when he did, he did so with a splash. His wide frame, covered with tattoos, stood out. His mohawk did for the longest time, too. This week he cut all but the tail of it, an effort, he joked, to fit in.

"I’m just trying to not stand out in public as much," Williams said. "It’s kind of tough, having a half-a-foot Mohawk on your head. Hopefully the bald head will deter people a little more from thinking it’s me."

There's little chance of that happening. Whether he's walking at the mall or running onto the field to play fullback, people are going to take note. It's not often a 320-pound man can be out of place and not draw attention.

Alex Scarborough | email

Alabama/SEC reporter

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