TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams has an insatiable appetite for watching film.
Williams gets his fix by reviewing old Alabama tape, NFL stars he admires, and the New England Patriots, for whom his new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll used to work.
“I’m a film junkie, but I try not to watch too much of the other teams because I don’t think that does a lot of good to worry about what somebody else might be doing because of what they did against somebody else,” Williams said Tuesday. “So I try to watch everything we’ve done and done in years past. Also, a lot of what the Patriots have done with Coach Daboll coming in.
“Then guys in the NFL that I look up to, left tackles like Tyron Smith and Joe Thomas and guys like that, because I think that you can always get better and you can always learn something. Even those guys can get better. So that’s really how I’ve been watching it now. It’s from that perspective.”
Williams said the entire offense has worked toward doing a better job of understanding the intricacies of Alabama’s offense.
“That’s one of the things we’ve been working on this offseason, is having a better understanding schematically, understanding how defenses work better, their structure, the schemes of our plays,” Williams said. “We meet as an O-Line a little bit extra sometimes just to watch, either help out the younger guys or smooth things out with the older guys.”
Daboll is entering his first season as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator. He comes to Tuscaloosa after spending three years as the Patriots’ tight ends coach.
Are there any similarities between the offenses run by Alabama and the Patriots?
“Naturally. But Daboll has come in and adjusted to what we run and also installed some of his things,” Williams said. “It’s not going to be a stark difference or similarity either way. But what a team to watch. It’s pretty impressive.”
Heading into his sophomore season, Williams was tasked with making the switch from right to left tackle.
Williams starred at Folsom High School in California before enrolling at Alabama in January 2016. Participating in spring drills prior to his freshman season gave Williams the opportunity to earn a starting job.
He became the second true freshman to start at offensive tackle during Nick Saban’s tenure at Alabama. Cam Robinson did it in 2014.
This season, Williams will replace Robinson, a three-year starter at left tackle.
Along with Williams, Alabama returns center Bradley Bozeman and left guard Ross Pierschbacher on the line. Projected right guard Lester Cotton also has starting experience.
Beyond that, quarterback Jalen Hurts, wide receiver Calvin Ridley and running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough are all back to bolster the Tide’s offense. Williams sees the group’s potential.
“It’s guys you’ve been working with all summer, guys you have been working with in the spring and in past seasons, so you know what everyone’s capable of,” he said. “I think as an offensive line, a lot of time it’s our job to get people in positions. If we can’t block, the receivers don’t have enough time to run their routes and the quarterback has to get rid of the ball.
“We open up the lanes for the running backs. I think that’s one of the things we’ve taken on us as a unit is we want to help everyone else be successful because we’re capable of that.”