Williams training for shot at NFL

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

It’s 80 degrees this morning in Aliso Viejo, Calif. Nobody is freezing when they go out for their morning paper, and it’ll be warm enough at 3 p.m. where former Alcorn State defensive tackle Bryan Williams can get in the pool for his daily conditioning workout.

&uot;It’s beautiful,&uot; he said.

It’s been a busy off-season for Williams, the guy nicknamed &uot;Big Cat&uot; who finished his career at Alcorn this past November after earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration last spring.

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The 6-6, 315-pound Williams took off to California to better his stock for a career in professional football, but on Saturday he had a chance to see some live action when he suited up for the East team in the Las Vegas All-American Classic.

Williams was on a squad with players from some of the bigger names in college football in an all-star game that included others like Williams who played college ball at under-the-radar schools.

Former Florida head coach Galen Hall coached the East team, but the West prevailed in a 14-7 decision.

&uot;I played half the game,&uot; Williams said. &uot;We rotated out each series. I just had one tackle for loss. I had just an average game &045; nothing spectacular. It was a long week &045; a long week of practice and everything. But it turned out pretty good. There was a lot of competition.&uot;

Williams got a chance to play against bigger offensive linemen than he’d seen in the SWAC. But the experience was an eye-opener for the Memphis native who had 13 1/2 tackles for loss during the regular season and earned second-team All-SWAC honors.

&uot;I played alongside a defensive tackle out of Georgia, another defensive tackle out of Duke, a defensive end out of Virginia Tech and a defensive end out of Tennessee,&uot; Williams said. &uot;The offensive linemen were humongous. But with the number of reps we got &045; out of the game I may have had 20 reps. It was in and out. Most of the time it was pass and not a lot of run.&uot;

That game and the week leading up to it was time spent away from his temporary home just south of Los Angeles. It’s here where Williams has spent time training with other former college players trying to up their stock for the NFL draft.

He’s one of 14 guys working with trainer Chuck Williams. A normal day includes a 6 a.m. session on speed training, 11 a.m. weight training and 3 p.m. in the pool.

&uot;Six of them are projected high first-round guys,&uot; Williams said. &uot;The defensive tackles I work with are guys out of USC and Idaho State. My legs are a lot stronger. I’ve got a sore shoulder, so I’m not doing a lot of upper body strength. My speed has improved a lot.&uot;

The work will continue in his three-month stay until the scouts come on Pro Day. The ultimate goal is to work himself into a potential draft pick, but Williams will likely get a free-agent deal and get invited to training camp.

&uot;They’re just saying keep working hard,&uot; he said. &uot;I learned that everybody is big, strong and fast. It all comes down to technique and heart when you get to the next level. You can’t just try to overpower somebody.&uot;

Adam Daigle

is sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him (601) 445-3632 or at