In fact, he is better. Head coach Mack Brown confirmed what spectators already sensed. It isnt simply the fact that Williams is healthy for one of the few times in his career; its also that the playful, childlike wideout ("I still like to watch cartoons," Williams admits) has brought a newfound work ethic to the practice field. Part of it is because he believes it is incumbent upon him to guide along the new quarterbacks; its also because Williams did not come to the Forty Acres to see Texas finish first runner-up each season in either league or division.
It all adds up to a new, improved Roy Williams, his coach said.
"Roy made two great catches today that were just unbelievable," Brown said. "I know Roy is better now than hes ever been. Hes worked harder this spring, and hes been more disciplined this spring. He is a better football player than I have ever seen him right now."
Williams made several grabs that would move chains against any defense in the country, but two (as Brown said) clearly stood out Monday: In what was part of a pinned-deep-in-the-shadow-of-your-own-goalpost drills, QB Vince Young hit Williams in stride for a 25-yard gain. Later, with QB Chance Mock behind center, Williams exhibited a vintage, twisting, turning, elevating, opposite-shoulder grab of a 45-yard Mock toss down the right sideline before being knocked out of bounds at the 1-yard line.,
The amazing thing is Williams made both grabs in tight man coverage (albeit single coverage) against CB Nathan Vasher, arguably the best at his position this fall.
"Were telling those two that theyre the two best players in the country," Brown said. "Its a great matchup every day. It makes them a lot better. Weve been one-on-one (first team D against first team O) on nearly every snap this spring. Its been great for them to work against each other."
Brown politely reminded me that "we still have three guys we can go to." True dat, but the view from the sideline is that FL B.J. Johnson has had a typical B.J.-like spring: spectacular grabs mixed with head-shaking drops. Meanwhile backup SE Sloan Thomas dropped more balls (four) Monday than a gossip drops hints.
To be fair, CB Edorian McCullough (whom D-coordinator Carl Reese says the fastest man on earth) made a terrific play on the ball in breaking up a Mock pass intended for Thomas. Whatever the reason, the wideout had a conspicuously tough afternoon and will be overshadowed by his counterpart Williams again this year unless he can duplicate on a weekly basis his annual breakout game against Oklahoma State.
Texas final workout in full pads is set for 4 p.m., Tuesday.