Ian Williams will be playing his first game in a true base defense on Sunday Night against the Seattle Seahawks. On last Sunday's game against the Packers, the 49ers had to run a nickel defense for majority of the game with the opposition frequently lining up three wide receivers or more. The third year nose tackle said that sitting on the bench for majority of the 2011 and 2012 has helped him develop his game more.
"The past two years of going against other guys has helped me greatly and got my confidence up," Williams said. "It's made things slow down more. Sunday's game was one of those surreal moments where you're finally out there."
Williams only had a handful of snaps against the Packers as Justin Smith and Ray McDonald played the most on the defensive line. He said he has liked being on defense with Patrick Willis and it has been easier learning everything from the sideline.
Willis compared Williams to former NT Aubrayo Franklin, saying he fits the mold of a true nose tackle.
"I feel like he's similar to Aubrayo [Franklin]," Willis said. "Williams is able to move low at the center of gravity and be strong to the point. He's worked hard all offseason during camp."
Franklin was on the 49ers for four seasons and was a big reason the running stopping was a specialty on the 49ers. He was franchised tagged after the 2009 season before leaving after the 2010 season.
For the 49ers, they will need to stop the run against Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch. Lynch had 100 yards against the 49ers defense in the last three meetings dating back to the 2011 season. Seattle has also stocked up on running backs in the last two drafts by taking Robert Turbin and Christine Michael in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
One of the difference makers is that Justin Smith will be returning as he missed Week 16 last year. Seattle targeted his side of the field when Ricky Jean Francois had to fill in for his absence.
Williams was humbled by Willis' comparison of he and Franklin. In his first season with the 49ers, he studied Franklin despite the veteran NT leaving for the Saints in free agency. He felt the film of Franklin is a standard for a nose tackle.
"[I studied Franklin] by practicing," Williams said. "We look at some of the film of past games sometimes. I could see what [Patrick Willis] sees and he was a great player. He was a true nose and played the position how I should. Franklin was a great player."