Note: Recently, LLT was granted the opportunity to conduct a phone interview with Keith Williams, the Steelers' 2011 6th round draft pick! The following is a transcript of their interview. Steelers Universe would like to extend our gratitude to Keith for taking the time to sit down with us, and LLT for setting up and conducting the interview with Keith!© 2011 Steelers Universe
SU: This is Perry Biggerstaff of SteelersUniverse.com and we are here to welcome Steelers 6th round pick Keith Williams of Nebraska. How are you doing Keith?
Keith: I'm doing great.
SU: Well, I appreciate you coming on with us. I know that you come from a school that is known as a factory for producing NFL-ready linemen. Do you feel like you are ready to make that next step?
Keith: I do feel like I am ready to take that next step. I am ready to get this lockout over and go in there and compete.
SU: Well, what are you doing during this lockout? What are you doing to get yourself prepared?
Keith: Right now I'm just working out at the University of Nebraska, and Iím just doing that and kind just looking over the plays, like from our old system which is basically a NFL-type system.
SU: What position have you played while you where there and what is your best position?
Keith: Well, when I first got there I played two years at right guard and I played the last two years at left guard so I am pretty much solid at the guard position. In practice I messed around a little at center. I'm pretty much good at the inside three positions.
SU: So you have played a little bit at center?
SU: Would you say that you're more ready as a pass blocker or a run blocker, or do you feel like you are pretty proficient at both?
Keith: I love the run, I really do. I think that is how you establish the line of scrimmage and I think that is how you set a tone for the game. As far as pass blocking, I think I am doing okay with that, but could use some improvement.
SU: Well, I know that you possess what they like to call "the nasty." You have a little bit of a mean streak in you when you have to. Do you like being pushed? Do you like having that player across from you who is going to make you work at it?
Keith: Of course. I mean, I want that player in the spot across from me to give me that look.
SU: Who is the player that you faced that worked you the hardest?
Keith: At Nebraska ?
SU: Either on your team or in any of the games.
Keith: I went against Jared Crick and Ndamukong Suh and other D-tackles in practice, and a couple of big time defensive lineman in the Big 12. One doesn't really jump out at me but I would put my players against anyone else.
SU: That is an excellent answer. That shows that you have a lot of respect for you teammates.
SU: Tell me what motivates you.
Keith: As far as motivation, just going out there and getting better....wanting to win a championship. As far as the game of football, I just love the physical aspect of it. You can go out there and be physical and just knock the sh** out of somebody and you don't get arrested for it....that's the best thing.
SU: You know, you kind of touched on this a little bit. What do you feel is your strength and what part of your game do you feel like you are going to have to work on to be pro-ready?
Keith: I think the best part of my game is, like I said, my run blocking. I'm good at run blocking. I'm good at pulling and getting out there on the edge and getting after it a little bit. As far as improvement it would be my pass blocking. I mean, I'm not saying that I'm a bad pass blocker but you can always improve. Basically hand placement and correcting my set here and there, but all around I think I am pretty decent in pass blocking.
SU: Well, they obviously had you in for a visit and you got a chance to probably tour the facility. What did you think, standing in front of those 6 Lombardis?
Keith: I have been chasing a championship for a long time. I played in two state championships in high school in which I lost. I played in three in college, you know, Big-12 championships. Now I'm ready to win a championship.
SU: So that is a motivation for you?
Keith: Yes, it is.
SU: What are you looking forward to the most as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization?
Keith: I'm looking forward to coming in and meeting the veteran players and getting some knowledge from them so that I can become a better player and a better pro. Basically, I'm bringing to the table everything I got. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and Iím going to try and not mess it up.
SU: A lot has been said about our defensive line and a lot has been said about our cornerback position, and they did draft for those positions. But there are a lot of people, including myself, who say that there is a need for a real strong guard up front. We have kind of had a revolving door there the last couple of years and there is an opportunity for somebody to step in there. Is your mindset that you are going to play as to be that starter?
Keith: I'm not going to speculate or put anything out there and get myself in trouble or shoot myself in the foot. Like I said, I'm going to come in and compete, and what happens will happen. I'm going to come in and give the veteran guys the respect they deserve and learn from them and we will go from there. I'm going to come in and compete and give them everything I got and make the most of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To, number one, be part of the Steelers, and number two, to compete at this level of football.
SU: Is there a player that you pattern your game after?
Keith: Um, not really. I mean....
SU: Who did you look up to growing up....who was the player you looked at?
Keith: Well, growing up....Iím from St Louis....I looked at Orlando Pace and the guys they had up there on their offensive line, and now I favor some players who went to the University and I kind of watch them. I really never had a favorite team, but now I do.
SU: Well, Keith, tell me. On or off the field, who has had the biggest influence in your life?
Keith: I would say my great-grandmother before she passed away. She was tough as nails and took no sh** from nobody. She had a swagger about her. That's what I liked. She got up everyday and busted her butt and got an honest days work in and didn't slack off in any way. I kind of like to mimic myself after that.
SU: How about on the field, who has influenced you the most in your game?
Keith: On the field I would say it's between my high school coach and Bill Callahan. My high school coach is one heck of a guy. He really nailed the nerve about hard work. He really pushed me hard. I remember my freshman year I was at 340 lbs. By my junior year, which I think was my best year in high school, I was down to about 285-290. Bill Callahan was one heck of a coach. He was an offensive line guru. He was great with technique. He was great with coaching the offensive line and putting that "nasty" into us.
SU: Keith, it has been a privilege talking to you, I have really enjoyed it, but I have one more question for you before you get off the phone. Where should Steelers fans go for all their Steelers needs?
SU: I appreciate it brother, you have a good day.
Keith: You too.