TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — If Alabama guard Ross Pierschbacher gets a Snapchat notification on his phone from fellow Alabama offensive lineman Jonah Williams, it’s a safe bet he already knows what it is before opening it.
“After a game, we’ll just relax and enjoy ourselves and he’ll be sending me Snapchats of film from the game …,” Pierschbacher said. “It’s like, ‘Dude, take some time off; just relax.’ ”
Time away from the team doesn’t mean time away from Williams, especially with Monday’s national championship game against Clemson on the horizon.
“Over Christmas break, we’d just got off break and he was sending me Snapchats of Washington about their guys,” Pierschbacher said. “And I’m like, ‘Dude, take a couple of days off after two weeks of practice.’ ”
That’s easier said than done for Williams, a true freshman who has started all 14 games for the top-ranked Crimson Tide at right tackle.
More often than not, Williams, a self-professed film junkie, will take his iPad back to his dorm room and continue the team’s film study on his own, a process in which he totally immerses himself.
“If they have a certain formation, I’ll pause the film and I’ll run five or six plays that we run out of that formation in my head and make the calls,” Williams said. “I think when you visualize all that mentally before the game, when you actually get out there, then you can actually play.”
Actually playing was what Williams, a former five-star prospect from Folsom, Calif., had in mind when he signed.
“That was my goal, and if that’s not your goal, that’s probably the problem with you,” Williams said. “I wanted to compete and excel, and obviously when you do that you can potentially earn a starting job.
“I always kind of set the bar high for myself. I wanted to be the best shot-putter in my grade, so I went out and I did that. In eighth grade, I won state in middle school, for what that’s worth. Every time I have a goal, I like to set that type of thing for myself. I want to bench 500, I’ll go do that.
“So I think that was the thought process going into it. I know it’s hard, I know it’s a challenge, but if I didn’t want the challenge I’d go to a smaller school. I want to go to the best and I want to be the best there.”
That mentality has been obvious to his teammates as well.
“He’s the type of guy that when he sets his mind out to do something, he’s going to do it at all cost,” Pierschbacher said. “So I think for him, he wanted to be the right tackle this year and he did just that and has excelled.”
Williams’ film study extends to himself.
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