Like any football team, good, mediocre or bad, Texas Tech has several players whose play will be particularly critical to the squad's success. These players, whether by virtue experience, leadership ability, importance of the position played, depth concerns, or sheer talent, are especially crucial. They may or not be the best players on the club, but they would be very conspicuous were they to be absent for any reason. In fact, that may be the best way to conceive of the critical players—they are the performers the team could least afford to lose.
With this series, we will take a reverse order look at the Red Raider football players we consider most invaluable.
5' 11" 210
Every so often a player comes along who is quite unlike any other player you have seen. Tyson Williams, Texas Tech's current starter at the Y-receiver position, is such a player.
To begin with, at five-foot-10 and 210 pounds, Williams is not built like a receiver. He looks more like a running back, or even a fullback.
And in Williams' case, looks do not deceive. For, although Williams is a member of the pass-catching corps, he may contribute most powerfully to the Red Raiders as a blocker. Think of him as a fullback playing receiver.
Williams will make Tech's offense more effective even when he's not catching passes. His blocking will spring short slants and intermediate posts for other receivers. It will also aid the running attack because Williams is fully capable of tying up linebackers on a regular basis.
Williams' presence also makes Tech's offense much more physical. Red Raider defensive players hate him more than any other player on offense simply because he attacks them rather than serving as a target. Tommy Tuberville remarked that this hatred began last season when, as a member of the scout team, Williams tossed defensive starters all over the field.
Williams is a transfer from West Texas A&M, where he earned D-II All America honors. In his sophomore campaign he caught 96 passes for 1,321 yards (13.8 yards per catch) and eight touchdowns while averaging 120 receiving yards per game. So he can catch the football as well as knock heads. And it is this combination of physicality and receiving ability that has reputedly already caught the attention of NFL scouts.
Adding to Williams' importance is the somewhat shaky condition of the Y-recevier spot. Jace Amaro, the presumptive starter at this position, remains a question mark as of this writing because of unresolved legal issues. If Amaro is not good to go in 2012, Williams and relatively untested junior Aaron Fisher will be Tech's only two performers at Y-receiver.
If Amaro returns, I would expect he and Williams to play situationally. To the extent it's possible to do so without showing cards, Williams will be the designated blocker and Amaro the receiver. If Amaro does not return, however, Williams' role will be colossal. He will seldom exit the field of play.