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Williams recalled with amusement how some of the players reacted when he met with the team for the first time last week. Half of them seemed “shocked” and many wouldn’t speak to him at all. The sense of awe continued at his first practice on Thursday when a group of players stood elbowing each other and whispering excitedly when he took the field.

“It might take a day or two or it might take a week, but I’m sure once the guys are around me that all the hoopla will start to die down and I’ll just be a ball coach,” Williams said.

He’ll work to make them comfortable and will be an “open book” with everyone associated with the program. He won’t push his hobbies on the players though, shaking his head when asked if he’ll teach them yoga, since he’s studied the exercise for years.

“I’m not going to offer it to them, but if they come up and say: `Coach my hamstring is tight, do you have a stretch for me?’ I’ll have something for them,” he said.