Derrick delivers

He runs the football. He catches the football. He returns kickoffs. He returns punts. Sometimes he lines up at quarterback with the option to keep the ball, throw the ball or hand it to the tailback.

Sound familiar? Of course it does. Tennessee saw talented tailback Darren McFadden perform all of these duties Nov. 11 in the "Wildcat package" for the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Vols will get another look Jan. 1, when they face wily wideout Derrick Williams, who performs the same duties for the Penn State Nittany Lions, UT's Outback Bowl opponent.

"They have agood athlete, Derrick Williams, they put at quarterback from time to time," Vol cornerback Jonathan Wade notes. "He'll keep the ball or hand it off to the running back. We expect a lot of that."

Williams, a 6-foot, 201-pounder, was rated the No. 1 prospect in America as a high school senior two years ago.

"Everybody in the country recruited the Williams kid," Vol defensive coordinator John Chavis recalls. "He's a great athlete, can play anywhere."

Now a sophomore at Penn State, Williams caught 37 passes for 413 yards and a touchdown during the regular season. He carried the ball 33 times for 139 yards and another touchdown. He returned 23 punts for 272 yards and yet another touchdown. He returned four kickoffs for 69 yards. He even found time to throw a pass, although it fell incomplete.

"Derrick has a lot of talent," Wade says. "He can run it from the backfield, come with the little screen passes and get upfield."

As tempting as it might be, Tennessee can't focus too much attention on stopping Williams because the Nittany Lions have some other quality receivers.

"They remind me of Florida. As far as athletes are concerned, they have 'em," Wade says. "Most teams have one main receiver, sometimes two, maybe three. Florida has four or five good ones ... and so does Penn State."

Deon Butler leads PSU in catches (45) and receiving yards (564). Jordan Norwood follows close behind with 41 catches and 437 receiving yards.

"Butler and Norwood are probably their fastest receivers," Wade notes, "but Derrick is fast, too."

Tailback Tony Hunt (26 catches, 252 yards, 3 touchdowns) is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. Then there's Andrew Quarless, a 6-5, 250-pound tight end who has 20 catches for 286 yards and an impressive 14.3 yards-per-catch average.

Penn State may have a reputation as a typical ground-oriented Big Ten team but the Nittany Lions can throw the ball well enough to keep a defense honest.

"We expect some deep balls and a lot of running," Wade says. "Their receivers have deep speed and they will throw it down the field at any time. They run a lot, then play-action and throw it over your head.

"They have a scheme. They know what they're trying to do and they execute really well."


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