In the Trenches with Jafar Williams
Oct. 23, 2002
Washington fans this season are reacquainting themselves with a familiarface at outside linebacker -- though not a familiar number. During theHuskies' run to the 2001 Rose Bowl, senior Jafar Williams made the No. 13lucky for Washington, teaming with fellow 'backers Jeremiah Pharms, DerrellDaniels and Ben Mahdavi to create an impenetrable force on defense. Williamsamassed 21 tackles on the season, including two for a loss and a sack.Offseason surgery on ankle and knee injuries, though, kept the Oakland,Calif., native off the field in 2001, what should have been his banner year.This year Williams is back, and with a sleek '1' on his back instead of hisold 13, has re-established himself as a stalwart of the Husky run defense,among the best in the Pac-10 conference. GoHuskies.com caught up withWilliams to discuss his captaincy of the 2002 squad, and his passion for acertain green and gold team from down South (no, not that one!).
GoHuskies.com: You are one of the captains on this year's footballteam; what does it take to be that kind of leader?
Jafar Williams: 'I just try to lead by example. If you want guys tohustle more or pick it up, you've got to be the first one doing that. I'mnot the guy who's gonna give you the motivational talk, but I'm going to bethe first one doing whatever needs to get done.'
GH: Do you find the role difficult?
Williams: 'Nah, I try to do that stuff anyway.'
GH: You are fourth on the team in tackles with 24, including two for a lossand one sack. What's your secret?
Williams: 'No secret, really. I play outside linebacker, so after myreceiver and tight end reads, I can usually figure out where the ball isgoing to go. Usually, though, I'm taking up blockers so that the inside guyscan make the stop.'
GH: You're so modest! Come on, though, you also are tied for the teamlead in forced fumbles, with two...
Williams: 'Well, when you go for the tackle you've got to come withit. Let them feel it!'
GH: After being at home for six weeks, you get to go on the road fortwo straight. When you're on the road you have to have share a room withsomeone else on the team, what's the routine? Who do you share with and dothey have any strange habits?
Williams: 'I room with fellow linebacker Tyler Krambrink. Usually Ilet him pick a movie to order at night and we go to bed. He's a laid-backcat. He doesn't really do anything weird.'
GH: About this year's baseball season and the Seattle Marin...
Williams: (cutting him off before he can finish) 'I love baseball! Iused to play it all the time. Not in high school, because I did track.Baseball and basketball were my main focus; I thought I was going to getinto one of those until football came around.'
GH: So, back to the M's...
Williams: 'Actually, being from Oakland, I've always been a big A'sfan. I'm upset that the A's lost, but we'll be alright.'
GH: What are your thoughts on Lou Piniella possibly leaving theMariners?
Williams: 'I don't really care about them. I call them the Chokers.Last year they won 116 games and didn't win it, and this year they missedthe playoffs. Guys here talk about the Mariners or the Seahawks, but I'm anOakland fan.'
GH: Will Ferrell was in town this weekend for a charity basketballgame, do you think...
Williams: (cutting him off again) 'Who's that?'
GH: Will Ferrell? The tall, funny guy on 'Saturday Night Live.'
Williams: 'Oh. I don't watch that show.'
GH: Well, what makes you laugh then?
Williams: 'I laugh about everything. The world is too serious and Ilike to laugh. I can't think of the last movie I saw in theatres, butyesterday I picked up a new DVD, 'The Toy' with Richard Pryor. That's aclassic!'
GH: So are you possibly thinking about a career as a comedian whenyou finish football?
Williams: 'No, I'm not funny, I just like to laugh. I couldn't takebeing booed and having tomatoes thrown at me.'
GoHuskies.com correspondent Steve Hitchcock contributed to thisreport.