Williams: Putting it together as a team.

Sophomore Demetrius Williams finds himself penciled in as a starter, at least if one asks the sideline experts that watch the Oregon Ducks practice. 'Dee' most likely will be one of the keys to success for Oregon as the Ducks start off the 2003 season. Williams, 6-2, 180 from Pittsburg (Calif.) De La Salle HS came to Oregon as one of the top recruits out of California in 2000. Williams likely will start opposite senior Samie Parker as a wide receiver on a team known for an explosive offense.

Williams spent the summer preparing for the 2003 season by working one-on-one with various defensive backs from the team and added some new routines to his conditioning regime.

"I did some stuff that I've never done before," said Williams. "Long distance running (five-miles) to build up my stamina."

Williams appeared in 11 games last season and had five receptions for a total of 73 yards. His longest of 32-yards was against Portland State. In high school, Dee had 34 catches for 829 yards and 15 touchdowns in his senior season at the perennial California powerhouse De La Salle. Williams was the first unanimous Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West selection that committed to Oregon in the 25 years since the list has been kept.

With a season ending injury to junior Keith Allen, Williams will now have to shoulder more of the receiving responsibility along with Parker in order to make the Oregon offense go. Williams does not back down from the task and recognizes what is necessary for the team to be successful this year. The team doesn't have a player with a national reputation, and that may be the key for the Ducks' success.

"We don't have an Onterrio (Smith) or a Keenan Howry," Williams remarked in describing how the team must be a cohesive unit. "We know we are going into a game with eleven guys who have to come together as a team and play well."

Both Smith and Howry are now with the Minnesota Vikings for the NFL and the Ducks are in the process of establishing who the leaders are on these years' squad. One could very well be Williams.

Speed and agility are trademarks for Dee. He ran a 3.63-second, 20-yard shuttle and is considered one of all-time fastest receivers in Oregon history. That should be very reassuring to Duck fans and a source of concern for opponents. Coach Mike Bellotti has described Parker as the fastest Duck and perhaps the fastest man in college football this season. Combining Williams, Parker, junior Kellen Taylor and junior college transfer Marcus Maxwell can add up to some tall, fast receivers for the Oregon quarterbacks to pick out. However, Williams is quick to point out that talent is only part of the equation.

"There are lots of good players, but it is whether or not we put it together," summed up Williams as he looked at the possible success of the season.

Speed, talent and leadership are some of the things that will excite the Ducks and their fans. The receiving corps for Oregon is very deep and headed by Parker who Williams describes as, "a great athlete," the Ducks could have fans celebrating many victories at Autzen Stadium this fall.

Williams and his teammates will continue to work in fall camp until August 30th, when they will take on Mississippi State at Starkville. Kickoff for the contest is scheduled for 6 p.m. PDT, and will be carried on ESPN2.

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