Tag Archives: Michael Williams

Thoughts and Analysis: Alabama in the NFL Draft

The picture Barrett Jones tweeted of himself after being drafted by the St. Louis Rams. (Photo from @BarrettAJones)

The picture Barrett Jones tweeted of himself after being drafted by the St. Louis Rams. (Photo from @BarrettAJones)

To add on to my analysis of Alabama in the First Round, I’m going to go through the Crimson Tide in the following rounds. But, before I do, be sure to check out all of the official Draft coverage here on the DailyBamaBlog.com, all of it on one page with no interruptions right here.

Here we go:

– The more feedback I receive via Twitter and more I see elsewhere, the more I think I may be the only one on the planet not surprised by Eddie Lacy and his fall into the Green Bay Packers organization at Pick No. 61. Lacy’s medical history is not very good (and even worse, it’s all in his legs) and in today’s NFL, where the runningback-by-committee approach is spreading like wildfire due to daily wear-and-tear, the thought of going from three backs to two is scary. That may have driven a team or two away from Lacy.

That being said, Lacy’s value to the Packers will be great. The Packers will likely only need 10 or so carries a game out of Lacy, and he can surely give that. His stats after a few years may be lower than some of the three backs drafted ahead of him – Giovani Bernard (North Carolina), Le’Veon Bell (Michigan State) and Montee Ball (Wisconsin) – but his situation suits him greatly and he is immediately in contention for a Super Bowl title.

– Maybe the Chiefs have caught on to the whole dynasty thing going on in Tuscaloosa: their selection of Nico Johnson early in the fourth round makes for three Nick Saban era Alabama defensive players to be drafted by the Chiefs, joining defensive backs Javier Arenas and DeQuan Menzie. Their presence in Kansas City should work wonders for Johnson, as long as he can do what he needs to do to work on his weaknesses: first step on the run, quickness in getting back on playaction, etc.

– I have yet to have a negative thought on the Rams picking up Barrett Jones in the fourth round. Ever since the Rams took quarterback Sam Bradford with the first pick a few years ago, they have been trying to find him some pieces to make his job easier on offense. Surely some security up front would be welcomed by Bradford. Where Jones will play is a decision that has yet to be made, but I think we all know he can play anywhere if necessary.

– Maybe it’s just me, but I think the Seahawks nabbing Jesse Williams in the beginning of the 5th round was one of the biggest, if not the, steals of the draft. Williams’ 4.9 40-yard dash and impressive showing in agility drills paired with his ridiculous strength makes him a once-in-a-generation physical specimen. Admittedly, we have not seen as much of his playmaking abilities as we would like, since the nosetackle in Saban’s 3-4 scheme is more of a space-eater than a TFL guy, but we have seen him get those tackles for a loss through a double team. Bold prediction: he’s going to be a top 5 pick-up for the Seahawks in the Russell Wilson era, which makes the Seahawks look like soon-to-be contenders in the NFC.

– Nothing new here, just the San Fransisco adding nice pieces to its rotation it late rounds again, like it did with Quinton Dial. Dial will most likely never be a star in the league: no Pro-Bowls, no All-Decade teams, etc. But he will prove to be a nice breather guy: someone who can take a few snaps at defensive end and continue to apply pressure while the starters rest up. Those guys are almost as important as the starters: on those 11 or more play drives, a glaring weakness in a back-up can turn a momentum-swinging stop into a game-clinching touchdown.

– In the final round of the draft, the Detroit Lions selected another piece for Matthew Stafford to throw to, tight end Michael Williams. Williams told the Detroit media that he wants to bring balance to the tight end position in Detroit, both as a blocker and a dumpoff option. Williams showed the tools to do just that with the Tide and if he is given an opportunity to show that in Detroit, he will certainly earn playing time before long.

Round Seven: Michael Williams makes it 9 Alabama draftees

After an uneventful Round Six for the Crimson Tide, the Detroit Lions put a cap on Alabama in the 2013 NFL Draft by drafting former Alabama tight end Michael Williams with pick No. 211, the fifth pick of the seventh and final round.

Williams proved to be a valuable part of the Tide’s run blocking success in addition to catching 24 passes for 183 yards and four touchdowns.

“In today’s game, a lot of people get caught up with tight ends doing more of the receiving part of it,” Williams told Detroit media in a conference call according to DetroitLions.com. “Sometimes they forget about the blocking end of it. I’m looking to try and bring that back.”

The Lions are excited about their new H-Back.

“He has a extremely high football IQ,” said Lions tight ends coach Bobby Johnson. “The kid started four years at Alabama and they could not replace him. If you talk to the coaches at Alabama, they say the hardest guy to replace in their offense is Michael Williams.”

Click here for a full report from DetroitLions.com, including video of Johnson on Williams.

Normally I would put a tweet of the player celebrating his being drafted here, but this is the only thing Williams has tweeted since.

Before you ask, no, I have no idea what he’s talking about.

Freshman turning heads in suit of Michael Williams’ replacement

As a program that has lost more players to the first round of the NFL Draft than an entire conference (the ACC), Alabama is no stranger to losing highly-rated talent.

That trend has recently centered itself around the tight end position, as former Alabama tight end Preston Dial was nice enough to point out as he was watching the Senior Bowl.

The Crimson Tide has to pull this stunt yet again as it has lost Michael Williams at the position, a two-year starter that caught a career-high 24 passes in 2012 for 183 yards and four touchdowns.

Now a corps led by versatile tight end/H-Back Brian Vogler will try to fill the void.

“The thing about Mike was he was consistent, he was very reliable and that’s something all of us want to prove to the coaches; we’re consistent, we’re reliable, we can do the things that Mike did,” Vogler said. “Honestly we’re trying not to say so much about Mike so we can work toward these news guys in the future and see what all we can do collaborating our skill sets.”

Vogler, who provided relief for Kelly Johnson as the H-Back last season, said he has been working more as a tight end in spring to fill in for Johnson, leaving the H-Back position open for players like Harrison Jones and Malcolm Faciane.

But don’t forget true freshman O.J. Howard. The in-state product ranked by many as the best tight end in the 2013 class, enrolled early and has been turning heads in his first spring practices as a collegiate football player.

“He’s a whole new dimension to this offense,” Vogler said. “He’s very long, very athletic, very fast. He’s learning very fast and he takes teaching, which I think really says a lot about his character as a player. He’s making progress and I think he’ll be a viable offense to our offense.”

The gunslinger of the offense, AJ McCarron, known to lean on the tight end from time-to-time, is looking for a balanced player at the position.

“It doesn’t matter who is there. We’ve got to have a guy who can block and be a (pass receiver) at the same time,” McCarron said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys rotating in at that position. We’ve got to keep progressing and having them bond with the O-line and bond with the rest of the passing game – learn timing and routes and stuff like that.”

Alabama 2013 Pro Day: Nick Saban’s comments

Alabama head coach Nick Saban meeting with the ESPN broadcaster during Alabama's Pro Day on Wednesday. (Copyright photo by Brett Hudson)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban meeting with the ESPN broadcaster during Alabama’s Pro Day on Wednesday. (Copyright photo by Brett Hudson)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban took a few minutes to meet with media members during the Pro Day festivities to discuss the goings-on. Here are some of his comments transcribed for you.

On the SEC’s ability to produce great players: I think the fact that, I may be off in my numbers, but I read somewhere that 70 guys came out early for the draft this year and 40 of them came out of our league. That’s an indication of the quality of players we have and the quality competition and the fact that we had six teams in the BCS top 10 at the end of the season is another indication of the great programs we have and the great competition we have in our league, which certainly helps develop players, I think. We’re extremely pleased and happy with the quality of players we have. Not only how well they’ve done in the draft, but more importantly how well they do with their career. Everybody’s focused on where a guy gets drafted. Really the most important thing is what kind of career he had. What kind of consistency and performance he had when you get an opportunity. That’s what we try to stress with our players.

On preparing players mentally for Pro Day: I think it goes right along with the way we try to get our players mentally ready to compete. The focus that you need to have, the mental toughness you have to have, the ability to lock on to whatever the circumstance is and the perseverance you have to have to be able to overcome little adversities that always crop up, whether you’re playing at Missouri and it’s pouring down rain, you get 40 minutes in the locker room in the middle of the game. Whatever it is, you have to be able to respond to those things. A lot of times, we all spend a lot of time figuring out how can we make it perfect for these guys? Well, most of the time it doesn’t happen perfectly, so to be able to have an expectation that things may go wrong here and I have to focus and stay focused even in those circumstances, I think really helps guys when it comes to things like this.

On Jesse Williams’ performance: I think that’s what people look for, guys that have size but are athletic and have initial quickness and some power and can run and finish on the quarterback and run ball-carriers down. I think that’s what defensive players need to be. I think Jesse certainly is a guy I hope people don’t misinterpret because I’ve heard this from people that he works out well, but he played really well for us and he’s going to continue to get better because he has more upside because he doesn’t have the same background of growing up as a football player like a lot of players we have in our program.

On a spot for Michael Williams with shifting offenses in the NFL: I don’t think there’s any question about it. The game has changed some to where people play more four wideouts, maybe they have athletic tight ends and the trend is to flex them out. I still think most NFL teams, at some point in time, know the importance of running the ball, probably even more than college teams do. I think it’s difficult to run it if you don’t have a good tight end and Michael is certainly a good blocking tight end.

On Chance Warmack’s NFL potential: I just think that Chance has unique skill set and he’s got really good size, he’s very powerful, he’s athletic, he’s got good feet, he can pass block and he can get moving in the run game. I think people that have his kind of balance and body control and the kind of athleticism that he has at his size are rare commodities. Everybody knows that those guys play 12, 14, 15 years. I think Chance has a chance to have that kind of career.

Alabama 2013 Pro Day: Other Drills (video)

Former Alabama safety Robert Lester running in the three-cone drill at Alabama's Pro Day on Wednesday. (Copyright photo by Brett Hudson)

Former Alabama safety Robert Lester running in the three-cone drill at Alabama’s Pro Day on Wednesday. (Copyright photo by Brett Hudson)

We have attached more video from Wednesday’s Pro Day, this time of other drills done by the athletes.

For more video from Alabama’s Pro Day, click here to see some 40-yard dash attempts and click here to read about Jesse Williams and his Pro Day workout, a post that includes video.

You can read more about Fluker’s Pro Day by clicking here.

Alabama 2013 Pro Day: 40-Yard Dash, video

Former Alabama long snapper Carson Tinker running the 40-yard dash at Alabama's Pro Day on Wednesday. (Copyright photo by Brett Hudson)

Former Alabama long snapper Carson Tinker running the 40-yard dash at Alabama’s Pro Day on Wednesday. (Copyright photo by Brett Hudson)

All eyes turned to midfield for the 40-yard dash in Wednesday’s Pro Day hosted by Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide football team.

Below, you can see video of the following former Alabama football players running the 40-yard dash: tight end Kelly Johnson, tight end Michael Williams, defensive tackle Jesse Williams, linebacker Nico Johnson, safety Robert Lester and long snapper Carson Tinker.

Here is a partial list of the results: M. Williams 5.4, J. Williams 4.9, Nico Johnson, 5.0, Lester 4.65.

For more on the players seen in the above video, click here to read more on Nico Johnson’s disappointing Pro Day and click here to read more on Tinker and his fellow specialist, Jeremy Shelley, in Wednesday’s action.

Also, click here to read about Jesse Williams’ Pro Day (with video) and for another video post, click here.

Countdown to Spring Football: Tight Ends/H-Backs Breakdown

Michael Williams capped off his career in the crimson and white by catching a touchdown in the Senior Bowl. (AP photo)

Michael Williams capped off his career in the crimson and white by catching a touchdown in the Senior Bowl. (AP photo)

Daily Bama Blog correspondent Brett Hudson, like he did for the BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame, will count you down to the beginning of spring practice with another series. Each day, Brett will break down a different position group going into spring practice until the beginning of practice on March 16. Here is the schedule.
Today: Quarterbacks (click here to read it)
Tomorrow: Running backs (click here to read it)
Saturday: Wide receivers (click here to read it)
Sunday: Tight ends/H-Backs
Monday: Offensive Line
Tuesday: Defensive Line
Wednesday: Linebackers/Pro Day
March 14: Cornerbacks
March 15: Safeties
March 16: Opening day of spring practice

Since the beginning of the Jim McElwain era in Tuscaloosa, the tight end and the H-Back have been staples of the Crimson Tide offense. Brad Smelley had more receiving yards than all but Marquise Maze on the 2011 national championship team.

Alabama has to find another threat at the position after losing both Michael Williams and Kelly Johnson after the 2012 BCS National Championship Game. Williams caught 24 passes, fourth on the team, for 183 yards and four touchdowns while Johnson added five catches for 39 yards.

However, Alabama will have two juniors and a redshirt sophomore battling for the two spots in spring training. Brian Vogler played in all 14 games, mostly using his 6-foot-7, 258 lbs frame to run block, but did catch two passes for 21 yards.

Harrison Jones, the younger brother of former offensive lineman Barrett and older brother of upcoming freshman linebacker Walker, played in 10 games as a sophomore but did not catch a pass. Neither did Malcolm Faciane, the redshirt sophomore in the group, who played in seven games this season.

The Tide has one freshman already on campus at this position, former Autauga Academy standout O.J. Howard. Howard (freshman year highlights), 6-foot-6, 235 pounds, said he would not mind playing both tight end and H-Back.

Breakdown: Two juniors (Jones and Vogler), one redshirt sophomore (Faciane) and one true freshman (Howard), plus walk-ons.

Prediction: The frames on both Vogler and Howard make them appealing options, but Jones has the family smarts that make him a viable option with a year in the new system under his belt. It is tough to go wrong with any option, so this spring could see the tight end/H-Back battles be the most hotly-contested on the offensive side of the ball.

In the end, Howard will certainly get his fair share of chances, and seeing him in a rotation with Vogler and Jones would not be surprising.

Two important Alabama football dates

Alabama tight end Michael Williams (89) still will have a chance to work out for NFL scouts. (Copyright photo by Gary Cosby Jr. of The Decatur Daily)

Alabama tight end Michael Williams (89) still will have a chance to work out for NFL scouts. (Copyright photo by Gary Cosby Jr. of The Decatur Daily)

Here are a couple of days to mark on the calendar:

March 13: Alabama’s Pro Day
April 20: Alabama’s A-Day

As many of you know, Crimson Tide tight end Michael Williams wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, which will be Feb. 20-26 in Indianapolis, but he will have a chance to perform for scouts at Alabama’s Pro Day. In fact, one or two teams might send someone specifically to see him work out.

If you’re curious when every school’s Pro Day is, click here.

Also, Alabama’s spring practice begins March 21. For a list of when every SEC school begins spring workouts, click here.

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Biggest combine snub? How about Tide’s Williams?

Alabama tight end Michael Williams ranked fourth on the team this year with 24 catches, while his four scoring receptions were tied for second. (Copyright photo by Gary Cosby Jr. of The Decatur Daily)

Alabama tight end Michael Williams ranked fourth on the team this year with 24 catches, while his four scoring receptions were tied for second. (Copyright photo by Gary Cosby Jr. of The Decatur Daily)

Top NFL scouting combine snub? NFLDraftScout.com’s Dane Brugler says it’s Alabama tight end Michael Williams, who wasn’t one of the 330 players invited to Indianapolis for the event later this month.

“Although he plays stiff and will struggle to separate at the next level, Williams is a powerful and physical blocker with the size and strength to stick in the NFL as a No. 2 tight end,” Brugler wrote.

Click here to read the complete story.

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Ex-Tide tight end Williams scores TD in Senior Bowl

Michael Williams (89) after a catch in the Senior Bowl. (AP photo by Dave Martin)

Michael Williams (89) after a catch in the Senior Bowl. (AP photo by Dave Martin)

Alabama tight end Michael Williams caught two passes for 39 yards and a touchdown in the Senior Bowl on Saturday.

In the South’s 21-16 win, Williams latched onto a 20-yard scoring throw from game MVP EJ Manuel of Florida State. The touchdown gave the South a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

Linebacker Nico Johnson had four tackles, while safety Robert Lester had one. Long-snapper Carson Tinker also participated in the game.

South Alabama defensive back B.J. Scott, a transfer from Alabama, had three tackles.

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Alabama’s Senior Bowl group has much to prove

Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson, left, stops Florida running back Mike Gillislee at Senior Bowl workouts. (AP photo by Dave Martin)

Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson, left, stops Florida running back Mike Gillislee at Senior Bowl workouts. (AP photo by Dave Martin)

John Zenor of The Associated Press has written an excellent story about Alabama players at the Senior Bowl. Here’s the piece:

MOBILE, Alabama. (AP) — Linebacker Nico Johnson spent much of his Alabama career rotating with C.J. Mosley as the designated run-stopper.

Johnson is aiming to use the week leading up to Saturday’s Senior Bowl to start proving that role doesn’t mean he can’t be a complete player in the NFL.

He said he wants to show “that I’m a much better player than what people think.”

“I can be more of a sideline than straight-ahead player. I can cover,” Johnson said.

He and the rest of the Crimson Tide’s Senior Bowl contingent have more to prove than some of the more highly rated players from the two-time defending national champions.

Johnson, safety Robert Lester, tight end Michael Williams and long-snapper Carson Tinker are the remaining players from a group that could have been larger.

Offensive linemen Barrett Jones and D.J. Fluker are out with injuries, while guard Chance Warmack — perhaps the Tide’s highest rated player — declined the invitation. So did defensvie tackle Jesse Williams.

Cornerback Dee Milliner and tailback Eddie Lacy — both juniors — weren’t eligible unlike Fluker, who was a fourth-year player who has already graduated. Warmack, Milliner, Lacy and Fluker have all been rated as potential first-round picks.

The guys who are able to participate in the showcase game for NFL prospects are hoping the week will improve their stock.

“There’s a lot of talent out here and a great opportunity to show the world what you’re capable of,” Lester said. “Every day’s a chance to go out there and shine.”

He and Johnson were key players the past few seasons alongside more acclaimed stars.

Johnson was third on the team with 55 tackles as a senior while Mosley was earning All-America honors.

He got considerable playing time against run-oriented teams like LSU and far less — a mere five snaps — against Texas A&M’s spread offense.

Lester collected 48 tackles and a team-high four interceptions this season, and led the Southeastern Conference with eight picks two years ago.

Like Fluker, he played for Foley High School, about 30 minutes from Mobile.

“It’s so close to my hometown,” Lester said. “I’ve always told myself, ‘I’ve got to play in that game. I’ve just got to play in that game.’ It means a lot to me.”

Alabama coach Nick Saban said Lester was a good leader and strong performer on the field.

“I’m sure everybody’s going to try to evaluate his range,” Saban said. “He made a lot of interceptions and a lot of big plays for us. I think he’s definitely got a future in the National Football League.”

Williams, meanwhile, is known as more of a blocker than a pass catcher. The 6-foot-5, 272-pounder did catch four touchdowns passes, including a 3-yarder in the BCS championship game against Notre Dame.

Again, Saban makes a case for his style of play in the NFL.

“Some people would say he’s not a big threat vertically down the field with his speed, but I think there’s a place for guys like Michael Williams who are tough physically and great competitors, has good hands and can make plays,” he said.

Fluker receives OK to go to Senior Bowl

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) with offensive linesman D.J. Fluker (76) and running back Eddie Lacy (42) after Lacy's 73-yard touchdown run. (AP photo by L.G. Patterson)

Alabama’s AJ McCarron (10) with D.J. Fluker (76) and Eddie Lacy (42) after Lacy’s touchdown against Missouri. (AP photo by L.G. Patterson)

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker has accepted a Senior Bowl invitation even though he’s not a senior.

Fluker has declared for the NFL draft in April and will bypass his senior season. Typically, only seniors play in the Senior Bowl, which will be Saturday in Mobile.

According to a release from the Senior Bowl, game organizers successfully petitioned the NFL to include Fluker and Syracuse’s Justin Pugh this year because both are fourth-year players who redshirted as freshmen and have completed their undergraduate degrees.

The release said they will be the first non-seniors in the game’s 64-year history.

Fluker is a three-year starter and made first-team All-Southeastern Conference and second-team Associated Press All-American.

Five former Alabama teammates will join him in Mobile: center Barrett Jones, safety Robert Lester, linebacker Nico Johnson, tight end Michael Williams and long snapper Carson Tinker. Jones will not play because he is recovering from surgery on his foot.

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Tide seniors haven’t forgotten the fun of 2009 SEC Championship Game

Nick Saban’s 2009 Alabama team beat Florida in the SEC Championshp Game. (AP photo by David Goldman)

This is my story for today’s print editions:

ATLANTA — The last time Alabama played in the Georgia Dome, the Crimson Tide whipped Tim Tebow‘s Florida Gators and won the program’s first SEC title in 10 years.

The players enjoyed a shower of confetti after the dominating 32-13 victory, and for a little while at least, they celebrated their championship as if nothing else mattered.

So, if you’re wondering if Alabama will look past Georgia today and peek ahead just a little to Notre Dame and the BCS National Championship Game, consider that day in 2009.

“I was a freshman that year, and in a way, the SEC Championship Game was more fun than the national championship game,” senior linebacker Nico Johnson said. “It’s a great place to play, and it’s a great game.”

That memory appears to have motivated the Tide players old enough to be part of it, as No. 2-ranked Alabama (11-1) faces No. 3 Georgia (11-1) today in the Georgia Dome.

Four current Tide players appeared in that 2009 game, including Johnson, safety Robert Lester, offensive lineman Barrett Jones and tight end Michael Williams.

“We remember how that game felt,” Williams said.

Today also is a chance for Alabama to gain a bit of redemption from a year ago. Even though the Tide won the national championship, it didn’t qualify for the SEC Championship Game. LSU beat Georgia in last year’s game.

“It was a big deal for our team because that was one of the goals this year and now we have a chance to go out the same way we came in and as a senior unit and a leadership group, that’s what we try to do,” Williams said. “That’s what we strived to do this season.”

Lester played on special teams in 2009, making one solo tackle in the win over Florida.

“Just the title of it being the SEC championship makes it such a huge game,” he said. “Two SEC teams, two of the top SEC teams battling against each other in the Georgia Dome, what else can you say about it?”

And as for 2009, he added, “We played against a Florida team that had Tim Tebow, that was almost perfect. And they came out and made plays and we were ready for that game and played a great game.”

Senior offensive guard Chance Warmack played in five games in 2009, but didn’t appear in the SEC Championship Game. He is from Atlanta and is eager to get a chance to play in his hometown.

Also, he will play against Georgia for the first time. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs haven’t played each other since 2008.

“Ah, man, people have been calling me since right after the Auburn game,” Warmack said. “It’s an exciting thing for me and for my teammates who are from Georgia. This is another type of game that you hope for.

“I had never played against Georgia before. I wasn’t here in 2008. I’m happy that everything arranged itself for me to play Georgia this year.”

Alabama coach Nick Saban has coached in this game four times, winning with LSU in 2001 and 2003 and Alabama in 2009 and losing with Alabama in 2008.

“To me, in all those games that I’ve been a part of, this is about as good as any game in the country other than the national championship game,” Saban said.

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Tide priority for Saturday: Slow down Jarvis Jones

Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones has 10.5 sacks and 30 quarterback pressures this season. (AP photo by John Bazemore)

This is my story for today’s print editions:

TUSCALOOSA — The most important Alabama player in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game?

You could make a case for Crimson Tide tight end Michael Williams, who mostly goes unnoticed by the crowd even though he stands 6-foot-6. Because he blocks so well, the senior has started for three straight years and played a lot off the bench as a freshman. The fact that he has 19 catches and three touchdowns this season is kind of a huge bonus.

On Saturday, he will draw one of his biggest assignments of the year: He could serve as Alabama’s key to slowing down Georgia pass-rushing terror, linebacker Jarvis Jones.

“It’s going to take a collective team effort to block him anyway, not just the backs and tight ends,” Williams said. “There’s going to be some guard help. There’s a lot of attention focused on him, so once we make our calls, we’ll see where the help is coming from, and I think we got a good game plan for him.”

Jones ranks fourth nationally with 10.5 sacks and has 30 quarterback pressures, which isn’t an official NCAA statistic.

Whether Jones gets the sack or not, Alabama doesn’t want him to affect Tide quarterback AJ McCarron, who ranks second in passing efficiency. Williams said he can see from film Jones has affected plenty of quarterbacks, even when he hasn’t dropped them for losses.

“His talent speaks for itself,” Williams said. “His stats speak for themselves. On film, he’s the first one that stands out because he’s the first line of defense. He comes through the hole and makes a lot of big plays on film, and it’s going to be a big task for us to stop him and also stop the rest of their defense.”

Alabama already has faced the guy who ranks first nationally in sacks. Western Kentucky defensive lineman Quanterus Smith has 13 this season, including three against Alabama. The Tide won 35-0 that day but gave up six sacks.

While Smith moves along the line a little, Georgia will move Jones from side to side. So in some cases, Williams could be on one side and Jones the other. In those situations, it could fall on somebody like running back Eddie Lacy to make certain Jones doesn’t punch his way through to McCarron.

“We just have to do what we have been doing all season long,” Lacy said. “There’s no difference in what we have to do.”

Williams said it’s a matter of accounting for Jones before every snap.

“They move him some,” Williams said. “It’s not as much as you would think, but he’s either going to be on the left or the right. It’s not like they’re trying to hide him. He’ll be on the left or the right. So we just have to ID it and make the calls and we’ll be very aware of where he is on the field.”

Alabama coach Nick Saban said he doesn’t want just one guy having to block Jones. So no matter what kind of reputation Williams has as a blocker, Saban doesn’t want him matched up with Jones one-on-one all day.

“You certainly have to have a plan to help the players that have to block him so that hopefully he can’t just get in one-on-one situations where it’s a difficult circumstance for somebody,” Saban said. “That’s part of the planning that you need to do. There have been games this year where he has made a phenomenal amount of plays, whether it’s sacks, causing fumbles.

“The guy is probably one of the best defensive players in the country in terms of his playmaking ability.”

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Tide’s Williams wanted TD catch to show his athleticism

Alabama senior tight end Michael Williams (89) nearly had a touchdown catch against Auburn. (Copyright photo by Gary Cosby Jr. of The Decatur Daily)

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Alabama tight end Michael Williams says he’s athletic and wishes he could have proved it against Auburn.

In Saturday’s 49-0 win over Auburn, he nearly caught a pass in the end zone, even though linebacker Daren Bates was between him and the ball. It he had made the catch, it would’ve looked a little like the one former Tide receiver Tyrone Prothro made against Southern Mississippi in 2005.

“A lot of people don’t see me as athletic, but I like to think I’m athletic so I wish I could have made that play so I could at least have something to go off and say I’m athletic,” Williams said tonight with a smile.

As you can see from the photo above, he nearly made the catch but lost the ball as he went to the ground.

“It was very close,” he said. “You wish you could have plays back and I think if I could have that play back I’d squeeze just a little bit harder and come down with that one.”

For fun, here’s video of Prothro’s catch:

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