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In the Trenches with Jafar Williams
Release: 10/23/2002
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Oct. 23, 2002

Washington fans this season are reacquainting themselves with a familiar face at outside linebacker -- though not a familiar number. During the Huskies' run to the 2001 Rose Bowl, senior Jafar Williams made the No. 13 lucky for Washington, teaming with fellow 'backers Jeremiah Pharms, Derrell Daniels and Ben Mahdavi to create an impenetrable force on defense. Williams amassed 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 his old 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 with Williams to discuss his captaincy of the 2002 squad, and his passion for a certain green and gold team from down South (no, not that one!).

GoHuskies.com: You are one of the captains on this year's football team; what does it take to be that kind of leader?
Jafar Williams: "I just try to lead by example. If you want guys to hustle more or pick it up, you've got to be the first one doing that. I'm not the guy who's gonna give you the motivational talk, but I'm going to be the 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 loss and one sack. What's your secret?
Williams: "No secret, really. I play outside linebacker, so after my receiver and tight end reads, I can usually figure out where the ball is going to go. Usually, though, I'm taking up blockers so that the inside guys can make the stop."

GH: You're so modest! Come on, though, you also are tied for the team lead in forced fumbles, with two...
Williams: "Well, when you go for the tackle you've got to come with it. Let them feel it!"

GH: After being at home for six weeks, you get to go on the road for two straight. When you're on the road you have to have share a room with someone else on the team, what's the routine? Who do you share with and do they have any strange habits?
Williams: "I room with fellow linebacker Tyler Krambrink. Usually I let him pick a movie to order at night and we go to bed. He's a laid-back cat. 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! I used 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 get into 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's fan. I'm upset that the A's lost, but we'll be alright."

GH: What are your thoughts on Lou Piniella possibly leaving the Mariners?
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 missed the playoffs. Guys here talk about the Mariners or the Seahawks, but I'm an Oakland fan."

GH: Will Ferrell was in town this weekend for a charity basketball game, 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 I like to laugh. I can't think of the last movie I saw in theatres, but yesterday I picked up a new DVD, 'The Toy' with Richard Pryor. That's a classic!"

GH: So are you possibly thinking about a career as a comedian when you finish football?
Williams: "No, I'm not funny, I just like to laugh. I couldn't take being booed and having tomatoes thrown at me."

GoHuskies.com correspondent Steve Hitchcock contributed to this report.

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