INDIANAPOLIS — Alan Williams is back with the Indianapolis Colts as their defensive backs/safeties coach after having spent 10 seasons as the team's defensive backs coach from 2002 through 2011. He recently talked to reporters about the state of his position group as it continues through offseason workouts and heads towards the 2018 season:
On what he's seen in his group as it converts over to the 4-3 base defense:
"Yeah, the guys, they want to learn, they're willing to learn, they're willing to maybe put some of the things aside that they did last year. And they're open books; essentially what they've said was, 'Coach, come in, teach us, show us what you want to do, and we will work hard doing what you want us to do.'"
On having a mix of talented youth in the secondary:
"Youth is OK if it's talented, and I think our youth is talented. So that's always a good thing. That means you get to mold the guys how you want them to be. So, as a coach, that's what you want: we get to teach them, mold them, make sure that they're drinking the Kool-Aid. And the guys are, so that's a good thing."
On what he's seen in cornerback Quincy Wilson and his maturation process going into Year 2:
"He's into his playbook, he's learning, he's attentive in meetings. I remember Quincy coming out of Florida last year, and all the things that we thought he would be, he is those things. Now, the one thing that he doesn't have is a whole bunch of playing experience, but we plan on getting him those things once OTAs come along and we can go against our offense. So it's a wait-and-see right now, but I think he'll be just fine."
On the main differences for the secondary moving from the 3-4 to the 4-3:
"The coverage isn't that different, no matter if you're in a 4-3 or a 3-4. Usually the coverage is fairly, pretty much the same. It's the front that maybe that they do a little bit different. So I think most of the coverages that we're doing, the guys have done before. It's just maybe not as much; maybe not as multiple, varied. We'll be into, 'It's not what you do; it's how you do it.' So we're not as concerned with the different coverages as much as making sure that we're playing hard, that we're playing fast, that we're running to the ball; we want to major in the basics."
On the advantage of playing more zone defense in the secondary:
"All our eyes are on the quarterback, and that means the quarterback has 22 eyes on him — and I mean our D-line too. So he's got 22 eyes … and (the D-line's) comin'. They're hummin' to the ball. So 22 eyes versus maybe two. So 22 eyes are on the ball; someone's going to come down with it."
On the safety position, and if he feels he has a good mix of talent and youth:
"You just mentioned talent, youth, speed, intelligence, and I just heard coach say high character; high-character guys that want to work, that are hungry to improve, to get better. So that's a pretty good combination when you have all those things. And I think some toughness, and mental and physical toughness. So when you add those pieces together — when you add them up — they equal more than just the sum of the parts."
On if he feels he has the right mix of coverage and tackling ability in the Colts' secondary:
"You know, I think we do. But that's what this time is for; to evaluate it, to see, to see who emerges, see who comes forward, see who can stay healthy. One of the words that the coaches use is, 'Who has stamina?' And stamina is, that's physical stamina, but also mental stamina. That these guys, we want them to make sure that they can do what we want them to do over the course of the long haul, because, as everybody knows, the NFL season is a marathon, and so it taxes the body, it taxes the mind, it taxes the spirit. So we want to make sure that the guys have that stamina to compete for the course of, let's say, 18 ballgames."