Williams' move from left guard feels right Lineman welcomes return to center

Ravens notebook

McCrary eager to square off with Boselli

October 30, 1998|By Mike Preston and Gary Lambrecht | Mike Preston and Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Wally Williams is glad to return to the position he played in college and high school.

The Ravens announced the switch Wednesday afternoon, moving Williams from left guard to center for Jeff Mitchell, and inserting Ben Cavil at left guard. Center is the position Williams has wanted to play since he came into the league as a relatively unknown free agent out of Florida A&M six years ago.

But since he has been with the Browns/Ravens, Williams has played both of the guard positions as well as center. He was expected to start at center this year, but reported to training camp nearly five weeks late because of a contract dispute and was shifted to guard. Again.

"It's no big adjustment," said Williams, 6 feet 1, 305 pounds. "I have to get back to the signal calling and just snapping the ball. Since I've been in this league, I've been here, there, everywhere, playing all three positions, filling in when people have gotten hurt."

Williams said he was told about the change Monday, but it didn't have much effect then.

"In six years I've been dealing with Kirk [offensive line coach Kirk Ferentz], he has always told me to hang loose on a lot of stuff and I've learned to take everything in stride. I've always thought center was my best position. You don't see too many 6-1 guards in this league, and I'm built to sit low, be strong and squatty and deal with those short, stumpy nose guards."

Williams said he has spoken with Mitchell, a second-year player, about the demotion and reminded Mitchell of his second year in the league.

"I was starting at left guard and got benched in the middle of the season," said Williams. "It's just a phase you go through. But Jeff has worked hard and he has been in the fire. He now knows how to prepare himself and that if there is an injury, he can step in and we won't expect any less from him."

Zeier back to backup

After three games in which he failed to take his offense into the end zone as a starter, Eric Zeier is again a backup quarterback, which is what he has been for much of his four-year career.

"Obviously, this is not what I was out for, but it's part of the game," said Zeier who has been benched in favor of Jim Harbaugh. "My job as a quarterback is to win games, and when you don't do what you're supposed to be doing, that is what happens."

After his outstanding performance in the Ravens' last victory over Cincinnati on Sept. 27, not much happened offensively under Zeier.

In 10 quarters of action spanning three losses -- Zeier was pulled at halftime in Sunday's 28-10 defeat in Green Bay -- the former star passer from Georgia could generate no magic.

The Ravens failed to score a touchdown, while scoring only 12 points over that period. They converted on just eight of 40 third-down opportunities under Zeier. He also has been sacked 18 times this season, with 12 sacks coming over those three games.

"Ultimately what you're judged on is winning and losing," said Zeier. "I'm going to stay ready."

McCrary relishes challenge

Right defensive end Michael McCrary will have no trouble staying focused on his next challenge Sunday. Jacksonville left tackle Tony Boselli, considered one of the best at his position in the league along with Baltimore's Jonathan Ogden, will be squaring off with the Ravens' leader in sacks.

"I feel like he's one of the best tackles in the league. He's more physical than Ogden, and his technique has gotten better in the past year," McCrary said of Boselli.

"Going against [Boselli] is like being in a boxing match. It's a fight, definitely a very competitive game," he added. "I love playing against guys like that. We respect each other a lot. You're actually having a good time out there while you're beating each other up."

McCrary leads the team with 7.5 sacks, although he collected none in Green Bay and also suffered a shutout at Boselli's hands in Jacksonville last month.

Graham still sidelined

Ravens second year running back Jay Graham has gone from starter, to backup, to No. 3 and now the injured list. Graham will not play in his second straight game because of a partial ligament tear in his knee.

Graham, who lost his starting job to veteran Errict Rhett in the final week before the regular season, first hurt his knee in the second game of the year against the New York Jets. The injury wasn't believed to be serious until Graham started getting fluid in the bruised area.

A magnetic resonance imaging revealed the partial tear.

"It happened on the third play I was in there against the Jets," said Graham. "It's been frustrating and the worst part is that it's the knee which affects your speed and ability to break tackles. But I should be ready to go next week and I'm eager to get back to work. I look forward to next week."

Graham and defensive tackle Tony Siragusa (ankle) were the only players not to practice yesterday.

Harris playing for kicks

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