Sophomore cornerback impresses coaches with close coverage

JIM BENDER

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

Some guys are climbing walls by the time they get this far into training camp.

Winnipeg CB Jazzmen Williams is climbing receivers.

"Jazz Williams is doing a nice job at the corner," Blue Bombers head coach Doug Berry said yesterday. "Every time I look out, he's climbing all over somebody out there and he continues to have good presence."

Williams spent most of the last season on the practice roster, appearing in only five CFL games (including the East Semifinal).

"I know what's going on now," said the 5-foot-8, 181-pound Boston College product. "Last year, being a rookie, a lot of things were new to me, especially the big field and the way our offences were run. And the defences, all of that stuff was new to me. Now, I have a year under my belt and I kind of know what's going on a lot more."

And without either Stanford Samuels (signed with Edmonton as a free agent) or Omar Evans (released) here, both cornerback spots are up for grabs.

GREAT COMPETITION

"Yeah, but we've got great competition here," said Williams, ticking off Anthony Malbrough, Robert Bean and Davin Bush, who can also play corner.

"So, we've got a lot of competition here and everyone's pushing one another -- and rooting for one another as well."

But the Rochester, N.Y., native is playing with a lot more confidence in this camp.

"I'm a lot more comfortable, especially on defence," said Williams, 24.

"Last year, I got my feet wet on special teams a little bit, playing in five games. But now, I'm a lot more comfortable with the defence and recognizing the offences and things like that.

"I still have to see receivers better and recognize patterns, and also be driving on routes -- that's how you get your interceptions. I'm just working hard, trying to make my strengths even stronger and make my weaknesses my strengths."

And yes, Jazzmen really is his given name.

"My father gave me my first name," Williams explained. "He was the local DJ around the Rochester area and he used to make his own mixed tapes and things so his friends would come over and listen to his mixes and he'd say, 'Listen to this, this is kind of jazzy.' "Then, when I was born, my name was either going to be Jazzmen or Hollywood, and my mom didn't like Hollywood too much ... I'm not into jazz too much.

"I'm not too musical. I think I can sing but I'm not sure if I'd say too much."


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