COACHING: J.D. Williams, a former NFL first round draft choice who played in four Super Bowls with the Buffalo Bills, enter his ninth season of college coaching and his fourth year as Cal's defensive secondary coach.
Under his direction, the Bears' secondary has improved significantly in each of his three years in Berkeley.
The 2004 unit was one of the Pac-10's deepest and most accomplished, led by safeties Ryan Guiterrez (2003 Insight Bowl Defensive MVP) and Matt Giordano (2004 All-Pac-10 first team)-who ranked first and third, respectively, in team tackles-All-Pac-10 rover Donnie McCleskey, and cornerbacks Harrison Smith, Tim Mixon and Daymeion Hughes. With their barbed-wire coverage, the Bears ranked No. 2 in scoring defense and No. 3 in total defense in the Pac-10 last year.
Williams' coaching talents were particularly showcased in 2003. Opening the 2003 season with no senior starters and only one returning starter (McCleskey) from the previous year, Williams molded his young, inexperienced secondary into a big-play unit by season's end. McCleskey, Gutierrez, Giordano and Smith all ranked among the club's Top-9 tacklers.
Cal's 2003 defense, which ranked third in points allowed (22.5) and fifth in passing yardage allowed (239.9), did a remarkable job against the conference's premier wide receivers. With the secondary stepping up, the Bears held USC's Mike Williams (6 for 96 yards, 0 TDs), Washington's Reggie Williams (4 for 23, 0 TDs), Oregon State's James Newson (4 for 79, 0 TDs), Oregon's Samie Parker (6 for 63, 1 TD) and Stanford's Luke Powell (4 for 70, 1 TD) all under 100 yards receiving.
In Williams' charter season of 2002 at Cal, cornerbacks Jemeel Powell (5) and James Bethea (4) both ranked among the Pac-10's top six in interceptions, with Powell finishing his Cal career ranked second all-time in passes defensed (32) and No. 7 in interceptions (10).
Prior to joining the Cal staff, Williams served as defensive secondary coach at Fresno State for two seasons (2000-01). During that period, the Bulldogs posted an 18-7 record and earned back-to-back berths in the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose.
In 2001, the Fresno State defense ranked first in scoring defense (23.1 ppg) and rushing defense (109.8) among Western Athletic Conference schools, second in total defense (365.5 ypg), and forced a league-high 36 turnovers. In addition, the 11-2 Bulldogs led the WAC in sacks (47) and red zone defense (57.9%), as Williams played a major role in developing star defensive backs Vernon Fox (two-time All-WAC first team) and Devon Banks (All-WAC second team in 2001). In his first season, the 2000 Bulldogs posted a 6-2 mark in the WAC (7-5 overall), and Williams produced an All-WAC second team choice in defensive back Dante Marsh.
Williams began his coaching career as a graduate assistant on head coach Pat Hill's inaugural staff at Fresno State in 1997. The following year, he accepted a full-time post as defensive back coach at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. Williams then spent one season as secondary coach at nearby San Jose State in 1999, before returning to Fresno the next year.
PLAYER: Williams was one of the finest athletes ever to attend Fresno State. A two-time All-Big West Conference selection and second team All-America (The Sporting News) at cornerback as a senior, he became the Bulldogs' first player ever chosen in the first round of the NFL draft. Williams was picked 16th overall in the 1990 draft by Buffalo, and went on to earn NFL All-Rookie team accolades and play in four Super Bowls. He later played for the Arizona Cardinals (1994), Carolina Panthers (1995) and San Francisco 49ers (1996). While at Fresno State, Williams set a school record for blocked kicks in a season (six) and career (nine), and was named Defensive MVP of the 1990 East-West Shrine All-Star Game. Also an elite track and field athlete, he won the 1986 Pacific Coast Athletic Association triple jump title (52-11) and ran a leg on the conference championship 400-meter relay team that set the school record at 40.18.
PERSONAL: Williams, 38, was born March 30, 1967 in Osceola, Ark. His favorite hobby is deep sea fishing. Williams grew up in Coalinga, a small farming town in central California. He and his wife, Jamie, have three daughters, Nicole, Kyra and Zoe. They live in Emeryville.
Williams at a Glance
2002- Defensive Backs California 2000-01 Defensive Backs Fresno State 1999 Defensive Backs San Jose State 1998 Defensive Backs Cal Poly 1997 Graduate Assistant Fresno State