Williams came into camp looking lighter and fitter than at any time in his two-year Cal career.
"I'm around 247-248 pounds right now," said Williams. "It's given me energy. When practices go long, it just gives me that extra burst and my break on the ball is much faster now. I've got a lot more energy. Also, when you're lighter, it takes away from your injuries a little bit. I definitely feel the difference coming into camp from last year to this year."
One would be well-advised not to confuse the newer, lighter Williams with a weaker, undersized linebacker, however. The better conditioning has only allowed Williams to pick up even more steam behind his devastating shots to his opponents. In addition, the added energy is evident in Williams' enthusiasm on the field as he's usually in the middle of the action, often yelling and exhorting his teammates between plays. He seems to be playing with a renewed enthusiasm that might not have always been evident in the past. His drive for playing time is also stronger than ever.
"There's a lot of talent on this team, especially at linebacker," said Williams. It's kind of frustrating to have to share reps sometimes, but when you have this kind of depth, you'd be a fool not to use it.
"I really don't know how it's (the starting lineup) going to play out, I just know I'll be heavily involved in the defense. I believe I'll be starting (at Will –weak side linebacker) based on decisions made in the spring. I'm just ready to get after it."
Williams and his linebacking crew will be playing under a new position coach this season with the return of veteran and former Cal Linebackers Coach Bob Foster who evidently found it hard to stay away in retirement.
"Last year," said Williams "when we were playing under Coach Wilcox, Coach Foster was around a lot and I'm sure he was thinking, 'You know, I really like this group and I'd like to coach these guys.' He saw a lot in us."
"It's huge (playing under Foster)," said Williams. "I thank God every day for bringing that guy to me, man," said Williams. "He's just been a great coach. He's such a teacher of the game. I definitely know a lot more about my defense than I've ever known since Coach Foster's gotten here. I'm making plays on balls and other linebackers, too, have gotten their hands on all kinds of balls. He's just a great guy.
"The guy's 65 years old," laughed Williams. "If he can get up and yell and scream and get out there and show energy, you've got to get some inspiration from him. And you've to get out there and get after it. He really gets you into it."
When asked about Foster's role in recruiting and his perceived differences from former LB Coach Justin Wilcox, who was a popular recruiter, Williams noted that every coach has their different style and approach.
"Coach Foster is just a beautiful guy," said Williams. "He just has a different approach. He's old-school but he has people skills. He knows how to make a player go. He finds something different with each player and he knows how to get it out of you."
Whether a matter of his conditioning, a response to his new position coach or enthusiasm for the upcoming season, it's clear Williams and his teammates are excited and ready to go.
"We've got a lot of depth. It's fun to see people flying around out there," concluded Williams.
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