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Williams comfortable with challenge


These are the learning days. Monday, the pads go on.

Rookie offensive tackle Maurice Williams will be put to the true blocking test this Monday morning, when he lines up against veteran defensive end Renaldo Wynn.

"When you get the pads on, you definitely see who the men and the boys are," Williams said.

The Jaguars' fondest hope is that Williams will prove worthy of the starting right tackle position they have all but assigned their second-round draft choice from Michigan. If the Jaguars are going to, indeed, be a young team this season, they may be youngest at one of the most important of positions, right offensive tackle, Mark Brunell's blind-side protector.

Williams is not in awe. After all, he played in front of a hundred thousand people in college and for a program that is steeped in a tradition of producing blue-chip offensive linemen.

"I look at it as a challenge and a personal goal of mine," he said of winning the starting right tackle job with the Jaguars this season,

For the second day in a row, Williams worked with the Jaguars' first offense this morning. Eventually, Williams will be in competition with second-year man Mark Baniewicz, who is currently limited in his participation as he recovers from knee surgery. Until then, Williams is in competition with his inexperience. If his gains are rapid, the starting job will be his.

"I just want to make sure I'm constantly getting better," Williams said.

The Jaguars have a tradition of rookie offensive linemen who've achieved starting status. Tony Boselli and Brian DeMarco were the starting tackles in their rookie season of 1995, John Wade took over at center for an injured Quentin Neujahr in the playoffs in 1998, and second-round pick Brad Meester started all 16 games at left guard last season.

"We have a lot of young guys, but I'm not concerned because the majority of the guys running with the first unit have been here," Boselli said.

"Physically, it's a huge jump coming from college football. In college, there might've been one or two guys who challenged me physically. In the NFL, it's every week," Boselli added.

Boselli was able to handle the jump due to his extreme natural talent, but it was also helpful that he came out of a sound USC tradition of offensive linemen. He was mature beyond his years. Similarly, Williams appears to be very relaxed in his new environment.

"I'm not in awe. I'm excited," Williams said.

Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.

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