Jesse Williams brings a rawness to Alabama’s defensive line.
The imposing tattooed figure, that stands at 6-4, 320 and has dubbed himself “The Monstar,” is the Crimson Tide’s starting nose tackle.
To show just how hard the Tide has been working during their summer conditioning program, Williams tweeted out last week that he had joined the “600 club,” bench-pressing 600 lbs.
“They cut me off at 600,” he said. “I felt I could have done more. But for safety reasons I think it was smart. I mean I wasn’t trying to do anything stupid, I just wanted to push myself as much as I could. I’m sure in the coming years and obviously working out more, I should be able to throw up a bit more than that.”
The native Australian said he wasn’t trying to prove anything by tweeting about his morning workout, but it sure blew up on the Internet.
“It got out of hand pretty quick,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to make a statement or anything. It just shows how hard we’re working in the weight room and running and stuff on the field, and how much better everyone is getting.”
After the team’s first fall practice last week, Alabama head coach Nick Saban made a point to comment on his players coming to camp in shape.
“This is probably the best test results that we’ve ever gotten from our performance in terms of quality performance on the test,” he said, referencing the conditioning test he gives his players upon their return from summer that includes different running drills, a 40-yard dash and the like. “That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a better football player, it just means the players invested a lot in the conditioning work that they have, and that’s going to give them a better opportunity to sustain some practices and some things that they need to do to try to improve.”
Sophomore linebacker Adrian Hubbard said he wasn’t in the weight room when Williams benched 600, but he heard about it quickly.
“Jesse is an early bird. I workout at 2:15,” Hubbard said. “Jesse practices everyday. If I practiced like Jesse, I might be able to bench Bryant-Denny [Stadium]…no I’m joking.”
Williams said that when he got to Alabama, he was benching “mid- to high-5’s coming from JUCO,” but has worked his way up “50 or 60 pounds over the summer.” He said he’s in better shape now than when he first arrived on campus.
“I think everyone as a team is," he said. "We had really good results for the team for summer workouts and hopefully that continues through the fall.”
Williams transferred to Alabama before last season from Western Arizona Community College. He played defensive end, but this year he’s been moved inside with the loss of Nick Gentry and Josh Chapman. His obvious strength allows him to hold off double teams and stuff the run, and his scary athleticism lets him maneuver out of double teams to rush the passer.
“I bring my own stuff [to the position],” he said. “I don’t like to be stuck there playing double teams. I like to pass rush as well, so hopefully I will be able to play the majority of the downs. I want to contribute as much as I can.”
Williams said moving inside, he has to have a different mindset, but he played tackle in JUCO, so it’s nothing foreign.
“I’m used to it, I just have to try to find my feet again,” he said.
Video by John Garcia Jr.
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