Losing Streak Doesn't Demoralize Williams

During practice, Kyle Williams has a sticker on his protective pad that reads ‘SWAG', as in swagger. Placed on his lower back, that's what Sun Devil defenders see when the junior evades them for a big play. Williams contends that maintaining a swagger is crucial for him and the Sun Devils as they try and bounce back from a four-game skid - a task he believes will start this weekend versus Oregon.

In the last two weeks Kyle Williams has seen ASU get shutout by USC 28-0, and during the bye week he witnessed his former high school, Scottsdale Chaparral, get blanked by their archrival Scottsdale Saguaro 21-0.

SWAG? That's perhaps be the last sentiment the junior should feel these days.

However, just as he's hard to tackle in the open field, his elusiveness is just as great in avoiding going into a funk in these trying times.

"You can't take the SWAG away from us," said Williams. "That's something that goes along with our heart and our pride, the passion that we play with. That's not gonna leave us because we lost a couple of games. I think everybody has seen that in every game we played."

"We don't give up, we will continue to showcase that, and it will transform into wins for us."

While the loss to the Trojans didn't take damper his optimism, Williams admitted that the week off came at the right time for the maroon and gold, and not because of the loss they had just suffered.

"It was the half point of the season," Williams explained. "So basically that gave us a chance to forget about last season, that's what we wanna call it now, and now this is our new season."

"We have six games to win and starting Saturday we have to win them. I know I've been saying it every single week, but on Saturday we're gonna show what we are really like. I really think everybody will see that on Saturday."

Every ASU follower has their own theory as to why the passing game has been struggling during this slump. True to probably the oldest sports adage in football, Williams strongly believes that you win and lose as a team.

"We don't like to point fingers on this team," stated Williams. "As an offense, we're just not efficient right now. Everybody has to be accountable to their responsibilities and everybody has to step up. Every single person on offense has to step up."

The cover-two defense has been ASU's kryptonite this season, and is a scheme that the Sun Devils have struggled with in the last four games. It would nothing but a colossal surprise if the Ducks didn't employ that defense come Saturday, and that fact doesn't raise even the slightest of apprehensions in the wide receiver.

"We made adjustments and If they're gonna come out in a cover-two, they're gonna get beat," remarked Williams. "If they're gonna play one-coverage on us, they're gonna get beat. We're too strong and we have too many weapons and we're gonna use them this week."

One shouldn't confuse Williams' buoyancy as a sign of disrespect towards ASU's upcoming opponent. Despite the fact that the Ducks' passing defense is one of the worst in the conference, the junior is quite aware of the tough task that awaits him and his teammates at Sun Devil Stadium.

"Their defense is real good," said Williams. "They have Patrick Chung and they have some good corners. It's gonna be a hard game, but we're not scared of anybody and we're not gonna back down from any challenge by any means."

"We know they have a good defense, we welcome that challenge, and we'll see if they can hang with us."

Last season, despite his six receiving touchdowns (on 29 receptions while collecting 360 yards), the book on Williams was that he lacked consistency. Thus far in 2008, he has scored twice, while registering 252 yards on 14 catches.

Even though his numbers this year aren't eye-popping, he has still emerged as arguably the team's best wide receiver to date. Williams feels that his performance is simply a product of an effective pre-season preparation.

"Me and Rudy (Carpenter) and all the other receivers worked a lot in the off-season," commented Williams. "Rudy worked especially with me to get my route posture better, and running better routes. I know I'm not gonna get to the next level if I don't work on that."

"I had to make a couple of changes in my overall life. I had to make a couple changes in my work ethic. I got better at the little things like looking the ball all the way in, making a break on the ball when someone else gets it, blocking…I had to work out some kinks and I've drastically improved."

As the team's primary kick and punt returner, Williams' turnaround is noticeable. His punt return yardage has increased from 9.7 yards per return to 17.0, and on kick returns his average has improved from 19.8 yards per return (albeit on just four kicks) to 23.5 yards on 16 kicks.

Overall, his performance on the field and demeanor off the field, have driven Williams to take more of a leadership roles among his position group.

"I like it," said Williams of his leader status. "I embrace it. Even though I'm just a junior I've led by example and I think my guys are with me on that. I'm trying to get everyone to come around and I think we'll be better because of that."


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