“Keiland really thinks he could be the best quarterback on the team,” he said. “He’s 100 percent throwing. He’s one for one with one touchdown.”
Keiland Williams may not have rushed out to the fast start he’d hoped for this season, but one bit of unlooked for heroics Saturday night may have been the spark he needed. Through three games Williams has just 49 yards rushing, but his 22 yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Byrd was one of a series of bold calls that led to a 26-21 victory against Auburn.
“[Miles] is probably right about that. I could probably get in there and make a few throws. Not anything too serious, maybe a couple swings routes to the back,” Williams said with a laugh.
“I was joking with Richard Murphy about that, I told him I’d get him and Charles the ball. I got under center a couple times with Ryan and Helms today and that felt pretty good so I’ll probably keep that going as the week progresses,” he laughed again.
All kidding aside though, Williams’ trick play fireworks have been the bright spot in an otherwise spotty start to the season. Widely considered by LSU fans to be the Tigers’ most talented tailback, the Lafayette native has totaled 12 carries on the season as fellow junior Charles Scott leads the SEC in rushing yards.
“It has been frustrating, I’ll be honest,” he said. “The first couple of games I feel like I’m trying to do too much to make plays and I’ve really been taking the fun from the game. I’m trying to make so much happen just for one play because my touches have been limited. I just need to be patient.”
The key word for LSU’s ground game in three seasons under Miles has been committee. But with Scott piling up yardage at nearly every opportunity, both Williams and Murphy may struggle to find their roles in the 2008 offense.
Williams said that thought “does and doesn’t” add any extra pressure to his situation.
“For me to go out there and complete that pass, and just to have the opportunity to throw it says a lot about the confidence they have in me,” Williams said. “Despite the season I’ve been having, which hasn’t been exactly what I wanted, they still put me in a situation to make something happen in a very intense game. It says a lot and gives me more motivation to go into the next week.”
LSU fans are no doubt eager to see that motivation pay off. While Scott has compiled a staggering 393 yards in three games of work, Williams has totaled 12 carries. This can only encourage rumors that Williams currently resides in Miles’ doghouse, or that Scott put in more work over the summer.
For Williams, the answer is much simpler.
“I would say me, if anything,” he said. “It’s frustrating and I’ve been a bit down on myself. I’ll come into the game wanting a 15 or 20 yard gain and it’s not really happening. I’m thinking too much while trying to make things happen instead of relaxing instead of letting the game come to me.”
Despite this, Williams said he has never lost faith in himself, or that his number would be called.
“At halftime, if I hadn’t gotten the touches I wanted, I’ll get into my locker and grab the Bible and that really helps to get me grounded,” he said. “[The touchdown pass] meant a lot to me psychologically.”
In an offense as multi-faceted as Gary Crowton’s, there is still plenty of time for Williams to reassert himself in the attack. And the first step could come against a struggling Mississippi State team under the lights of Tiger Stadium.
“These past couple of years I’ve had success in just getting out there and making big plays in critical situations,” Williams said. “It helped with my confidence to know that I’m still capable of doing something like that and that the coaches are still going to put me into those situations.”
How ironic that a touchdown pass, and not a touchdown run, could be the key to a turnaround.