Vikings' new hire Williams not rushing things

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 26, 2012 - 6:52 AM

In his first week on the job, Alan Williams is focusing on what needs to be done in the present rather than on specific details that can wait for the future.

The Senior Bowl will provide a chance for Vikings coach Leslie Frazier to observe his new staff, including new defensive coordinator Alan Williams (right).

Photo: Wilfredo Lee, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

MOBILE, ALA. - Go ahead. Fire the direct questions at Alan Williams. He knows they're coming.

As the new Vikings defensive coordinator, Williams understands it's imperative he establish a voice. And soon.

It's his turn now to plot the master plan for a defensive rebirth. But only if he can successfully pick off the myriad questions that have greeted him at the doorstep of his new job.

So about that NFL coaching experience, those 10 consecutive seasons working with defensive backs in Indianapolis ... What took the 42-year-old so long to move on and move up?

"People can easily forget why you coach," Williams said. "You coach to win championships. You coach to help people improve. And that's what I was doing in Indianapolis. There's a fulfillment to that. I don't know that anyone gets into coaching with a narrow focus of 'I just want to move up.' For 10 years, Indy fit my needs. We were winning. I was developing good players. So I stayed."

OK, but with this new opportunity in Minnesota, now what? How will the new defensive setup work, with Williams holding the title as coordinator but coach Leslie Frazier vowing to be heavily involved -- like a driver's ed instructor with his own steering wheel and brake pedal?

"We're a long way from finalizing that," Williams said. "But I can say I have no reservations -- none -- about Les having input. He's a terrific communicator. And he's a coach who no matter the talent of a guy, when they finish up with him, they're better."

Oh, and one other trivial footnote -- only because it's bound to come up eventually. With Williams dwarfed by his defensive players at this week's Senior Bowl, just how tall is he really?

"Five-seven and three-quarters," he asserted. "Plus I'm still waiting to see if there might be a late growth spurt."

For a little guy in a behemoth's world, he hopes for a coaching growth spurt, too.

Plus, for all the recent coordinator changes across the NFL, Williams is the only one who has had this Senior Bowl experience to assert himself and begin establishing coaching chemistry.

"That is as important as what we're going to do with our players in the fall," Frazier said. "Because they'll really follow our lead as coaches. So this is a chance for Alan to get a head start on OTAs and minicamps. ... I think this gives us a leg up as a staff as we're trying to develop and really chart the course for where we want to be from a defensive standpoint."

With that head start, Williams has promised not to rush ahead, affixing a four-word philosophy to his Senior Bowl work: "Be where we're at."

So if you're looking for details into what exactly he plans to do schematically, if you're curious as to how he perceives the Vikings depth chart, that research barely has begun.

"This is crucial for me: Be where we're at," Williams said. "Right now, we're at the Senior Bowl. So we need to take care of our responsibilities in this environment and focus directly on evaluating these guys. That way, when it comes time to make some big decisions in the draft, we've put our work in."

In the week since hiring Williams, Frazier has reminded his protégé to look at this as a clean slate, to recognize the Vikings personnel and system but to offer fresh ideas, new wrinkles and a distinct philosophy.

Williams said he will offer a similar message to Vikings players, discarding reputations, shoveling dirt on 2011 and promising a new opportunity for guys to prove themselves.

"The slate is clean," he said. "I think the worst thing I could do is have preconceived notions of who someone is as a player. Especially now. Time is on our side. So why not do my due diligence?"

Yes, those big initial questions -- Williams' inexperience as a coordinator, his yet-to-be-specified authority and heck, even the height thing -- likely will be discussed until hard-copy results materialize.

But during his first week on the job, Williams is earning the confidence of his assistants.

Said defensive backs coach Joe Woods: "All players want to know are the things you can teach them to help them make plays. That's it. They don't care who you are. If you get in front of that room and you spit knowledge and they know you know what you're talking about, that's all that matters. I don't care if it's a rookie or Jared Allen, your knowledge and your ability to teach breeds respect. Alan has that."

  • related content

  • QBs' intangibles impress assistant

    Wednesday January 25, 2012

    The Vikings aren't in the market for quarterbacks this offseason. But they have three interesting prospects with which to work on the North team at this week's Senior Bowl: Wisconsin's...

  • VIKINGS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR ALAN WILLIAMS

    Senior Bowl: 3 p.m. Saturday at Mobile, Ala. • TV: NFL Network

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - B. Morrow 12:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
LA Angels - H. Santiago 12:08 PM
Detroit - R. Porcello
Atlanta - D. Hale 12:10 PM
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler
Seattle - B. Maurer 12:10 PM
Miami - K. Slowey
St. Louis - S. Miller 12:35 PM
Washington - S. Strasburg
Milwaukee - M. Estrada 12:35 PM
Pittsburgh - G. Cole
NY Yankees - V. Nuno 12:40 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Ramos
Minnesota - P. Hughes 1:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Cincinnati - H. Bailey 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - C. Villanueva
Chicago WSox - E. Johnson 2:05 PM
Texas - R. Ross Jr.
Houston - B. Peacock 3:05 PM
Oakland - J. Chavez
Philadelphia - R. Hernandez 3:10 PM
Colorado - J. Nicasio
San Francisco - T. Lincecum 3:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
Arizona - J. Collmenter 3:10 PM
Los Angeles - J. Beckett
Baltimore - U. Jimenez 6:05 PM
Boston - J. Peavy
Dallas 12:00 PM
San Antonio
Charlotte 2:30 PM
Miami
Washington 6:00 PM
Chicago
Portland 8:30 PM
Houston
Philadelphia 11:00 AM
NY Rangers
Detroit 2:00 PM
Boston
Tampa Bay 6:00 PM
Montreal
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
San Jose
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which quarterback is best in the NFL draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close