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Williams Enjoying His Life as a Student

Times Staff Writer

Mike Williams no longer plays for USC, but the former All-American receiver said Wednesday that he has enjoyed his time away from football and would begin training next week for the 2005 NFL draft.

The NCAA turned down USC’s request to have Williams’ eligibility reinstated before the season began. Williams continues to attend classes on campus and he was on the field observing the final hour of Wednesday’s practice.

Williams said he was taking three courses and did not mind the absence of a football commitment.

“It’s totally different -- kind of like living a lifestyle you always wanted to see what it was like,” he said.

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Williams said a trainer from Georgia was scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles this weekend, and that he would begin working out on Monday.

“I’ll go hard until maybe the end of November, then just take a little break and then go hard from January on,” said Williams, who is expected to be chosen in the first round of the April draft.

Williams said he watches USC “religiously,” and remains in contact with several players, including sophomore running back Reggie Bush.

“He’s the most important thing to this team right now, second to the O-line and the defense,” Williams said. “It’s cool to talk to the guys but I kind of leave them alone because I don’t want them to feel like I’m preaching on them or that I’m bigger than them or more than that.”

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USC’s game against California on Oct. 9 is nearing a sellout, senior associate athletic director Daryl Gross said.... Linebackers Matt Grootegoed (concussion) and Lofa Tatupu (knee) returned to practice but did not participate in drills.


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