Joe Davidson

Now starring at Alabama football on The Blind Side: Jonah Williams

Folsom offensive lineman Jonah Williams waits to take the field before the CIF NorCal Division I-AA championship game against Bellarmine College Prep on Dec. 11, 2015, in Folsom. Williams, who played right tackle for NCAA champion Alabama last season, moves to left tackle.
Folsom offensive lineman Jonah Williams waits to take the field before the CIF NorCal Division I-AA championship game against Bellarmine College Prep on Dec. 11, 2015, in Folsom. Williams, who played right tackle for NCAA champion Alabama last season, moves to left tackle. Special to The Bee

Jonah Williams was so determined to land on the left side, that he would hustle back out to the football practice field for more work.

His body aching, his legs heavy from the heat and humidity last season, Williams found time to squeeze in some repetitions at a position defenses target.

Hand placement. Hip movement. How to protect the blind side for a quarterback at Alabama.

In other words: Left tackle, the most crucial spot in the trenches.

The Folsom High School graduate pulled no stops to accelerate his way through this learning curve, and it has paid off. Now introducing the Crimson Tide’s new left tackle throughout spring drills and heading into summer camp: No. 73, Jonah Williams.

“I would go out on the field after practice with (left guard) Ross (Pierschbacher) and my buddies and play the left tackle spot, getting used to it, getting a feel for it,” Williams told Alabama beat writers earlier this spring. “I tried to eat and write with my left hand, get a little ambidextrous. It was smooth for me. It wasn’t a big shock.”

Williams started all 13 games at right tackle last season for the Crimson Tide, earning Freshman All-American honors. The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder takes over for All-American Cam Robinson, who last month was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Williams didn’t have to go ambidextrous in high school. He mauled opponents with relentless ferocity, sometimes in practice. And often to the point the coaches would halt drills, tap Williams on the shoulder pads and remind, “Jonah, these are our guys. You’re killing them!”

Williams in 2016 was a rare freshman starter for Alabama coach Nick Saban, who soon learned that he couldn’t afford to redshirt the five-star recruit. Alabama reached the national championship game, a gut-wrenching loss to Clemson. Williams said his goal is to play left tackle right into the NFL, where he could emerge as the region’s next first-round draft pick in a year or two, if his Folsom quarterback buddy Jake Browning of Washington doesn’t beat him to it.

The last area first-rounders were in 2015 with defensive lineman Arik Armstead of Pleasant Grove and Oregon (49ers) and linebacker Shaq Thompson of Grant and Washington (Carolina Panthers).

“It’s been a smooth transition,” Williams said of switching to the left side. “I’m doing what the coaches ask me. It’s above my pay grade to make that kind of decision. But I enjoy playing left tackle. It’s what I’ve wanted to play for a long time. I’m comfortable there.”

Said Pierschbacher, “(Williams has) done a really good job. He’s the type of guy that if he sets him mind to it, he’s going to achieve it. He really wanted to get that left tackle spot and he’s done everything to earn it.”

Bloomfield out – Tony Bloomfield has retired as the baseball coach at Cosumnes River College, the highlights including coaching his infielder son, Brett, the last two seasons and winning the state championship in 2012 without the benefit of having a single home game or home practice due to facility upgrades.

Bloomfield won more than 700 games and directed 22 playoff teams, including eight that reached the Super Regional Final Eight. He was a nine-time conference Coach of the Year and he earned national community college Coach of the Year honors in 2012.

Longtime CRC assistant coach Don Mico is the likely replacement, and it’s a gig he’d like to have.

McKinley in – Jake McKinley has been hired as the William Jessup baseball coach.

The Union Mine graduate was an assistant coach at Sacramento State for four seasons and was the head coach at Menlo College in the Bay Area for the last four seasons, winning 30 or more games three times. He steppe ddown as the winningest coach in program history with 131 victories.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

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