BYU junior running back Jamaal Williams said last week he wants to be "The Hammer" coming out of the Cougar backfield.
Yes, the guy who rushed for 1,233 yards in 2013 and is within shouting distance of becoming the school's all-time leading rusher is saying he still wants to be known as the tough guy.
"Right now Paul and I are still debating about who is 'The Hammer' in the running back group," Williams said. "We are challenging each other to see who can be the best blocker right now."
But as the junior pointed out, he's got some pretty stout competition in BYU senior Paul Lasike.
Just ask the Navy rugby player Lasike de-cleated without breaking stride during a contest at South Field this spring (if you haven't seen it, check it out on CougarBlue.com).
"People bring it up quite a few times, actually," Lasike said earlier in fall camp. "The guy was kind of off-balance, so he kind of fell over. He took it easy on me."
Lasike said he loves the contact and physicality of rugby and football, but Williams believes he has the inside track because of the size differential -- yes, the junior believes weighing 25 pounds less than Lasike is an advantage in this case.
"Right now I can say I'm winning," Williams said. "I'm smaller than he is, but I can bring the same punch as he can, so it looks more impressive."
Williams compared it to seeing Wilt Chamberlain dunk a basketball and Spud Webb dunk a basketball.
BYU running backs coach Mark Atuaia just grinned when asked about "The Hammer" competition.
He said blocking is important to all the running backs but also talked about much fun he has being around his guys and the chemistry they have.
Lasike, as a senior, said his main goal right now is to just contribute in whatever way he can.
"My goal is to do whatever I can for the team, whether it be on special teams or offense," Lasike said. "I've been working on my catching and just the little things."
Lasike added that even with the friendly competition and the fact that it means he'll get a few more repetitions, not having Williams on the field against UConn in the season opener on Aug. 29 due to suspension will be tough on the offense.
"We're going to miss him out there," Lasike said. "I think we'll be all right with the boys that we have. We have good depth at running back. I'm just excited to be in it."