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Vikings right tackle chomps at the bit to improve game

Jefferson grad Anthony Williams is eager to make up for lost time

Anthony Williams struggles to name his favorite food.

'Just one dish?' asks the 6-3, 315-pound lineman for Portland State's football team. 'There are so many.'

Williams lists eating as a hobby in the PSU media guide, and the calories have not gone in vain. His size and skill have him in the starting lineup at right tackle as the Vikings prepare for the second annual Vanport Invitational on Sept. 14 at PGE Park. They will face North Carolina A&T.

'I like to play basketball, and I enjoy going to church,' Williams says. 'And I enjoy eating, especially my mom's pot roast.

'And my mom's sweet potato pie. I could go for one of those right now.'

Williams, 23, is something of a newcomer to the PSU line, despite being four years removed from Jefferson High, where he was an all-Portland Interscholastic League lineman and played in the Oregon Bowl. He left Portland for Citrus Junior College in Southern California and played there for two years.

He returned to Portland two years ago to finish his associate's degree at Portland Community College, which enabled him to transfer to PSU.

But problems with transferring credits from one college to another kept him out of action last year.

He redshirted, practicing with the Vikings but never playing. He struggled with sitting on the bench.

'After missing the previous season, last year was very hard on me,' Williams says. 'I think if I wasn't a Christian, I would have went nuts.'

PSU coach Tim Walsh says Williams 'has a chance to be a pretty outstanding player. There are times when he dominates folks. He's got a big chance to help us.'

But skipping two years of playing and working up the depth chart robbed Williams of some of his development, which line coach Eric Reid has been working to overcome.

'It slowed him down quite a bit,' Reid says. 'I think it's going to take him two or three games to get a feel for playing again.'

Williams moved up the depth chart because of his size and skill and because of injuries to Scott Lesure and Mike Stachowiak, two returning starters.

Williams moved from third-team right guard to first-team right tackle in a matter of weeks. He started Saturday against Stephen F. Austin and helped the Vikings win 31-23.

Williams says nerves got the best of him during the game, all the way into the fourth quarter, when he gave up a sack, the first of the game for the Viking line.

'I got pretty down on myself for giving that up,' he says. 'Coach Reid had everything planned out for us, and I shouldn't have allowed that. Sometimes I just do my own thing, and that's when things go wrong.'

Reid is working consistently on Williams' technique. The Vikings have step patterns for linemen depending on the defensive front and where a defender lines up. It's a lot to remember.

'It's like going from preschool to high school from what I was doing in junior college,' Williams says. 'They expect a lot out of you here, and I have to constantly work at it.'

The Vikings were outgained offensively in their season opener but finished with a victory.

Williams says the line is gearing up for North Carolina A&T, 0-1 going into a game Saturday at home against Jackson State.

'I'm anxious to get back out on the field and make up for what happened in the first game,' he says. 'We averaged 35 points per game last year, so we know we can do a lot better than 31.'

Contact Cliff Pfenning at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..