Those who think there was some conflict last season between University of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett and tight end D.J. Williams needed only to witness Thursday morning's exchange to realize that was overblown.
Williams' catches went down from 58 reception for 699 yards in 2008 to 32 catches for 411 yards last season as Mallett took over for the conservative Casey Dick.
So a questioner stepped up and asked this of Mallett at SEC Media Days:
"Ryan, can you tell us what you think about getting the ball to the tight end this season?"
Mallett started answering the question and then realized senior Williams (6-2, 251) that had stepped in line to answer a question.
"Well D.J., as long as you're not double covered I'll get it to you," Mallett said with a laugh.
Williams, who declared for the NFl draft before taking his name back out, said he loves playing football with Mallett in an offense designed by Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino.
"You don't see college quarterbacks make the kind of throws that he makes," Williams said. "Ryan puts it on the money… He has that pro-type arm and the ability to make every throw. With that talent comes the confidence that he brings to the huddle.
Double-covering Williams is going to be harder to do and just stopping Arkansas' offensive period is going to be tougher with the Razorbacks' having so many weapons and Mallett doing his thing according to Williams.
In addition to wideouts Jarius Wright, Greg Childs, Joe Adams, Cobi Hamilton and newcomer Lance Ray, the running game is expected to get a lift from the shift to using the pistol formation more this season.
"The biggest thing we have coming back this year is experience," Williams said. "We have almost everybody coming back on offense and almost everybody coming back on defense so everyone has been there before and knows what it takes to win a game."
The Razorbacks are welcoming the expectations, which have them being picked second in the SEC West behind defending national champion Alabama and in the top 15 or so overall.
"Nobody is watching TV and are like, man, those guys are crazy ranking us so high," Williams said. "I don't know who they think we are. We have the feeling we have the chance to be special … and we're embracing it."
Williams actually did a little piano playing at the media days on Thursday to entertain the scribes.
"You know, it helps me relax and lighten up the room and I enjoy doing it," Williams said. "I was fine, you know, just wanting to put on a little bit of a show for everybody. Everybody looked a little bored."
Williams made it clear what he thinks the 2010 Razorback football team is going to do this season.
"This is a completely different Arkansas team," Williams said. "We are going to set the standard for what Arkansas football could and should be years to come. Coach Petrino has done a great job of establishing that since the day he first stepped on the field here on campus."
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