Roy Looks Past 'Worst Game Ever', Toward OU

If you were part of the sixth-largest crowd in Memorial Stadium history Saturday or if you watched Texas&#146; 24-20 win over Kansas State on TV, you witnessed something that has never been seen before nor likely to be repeated this weekend against Oklahoma. What you saw, SE <B>Roy Williams </B>said, was his worst individual performance as an athlete.

"That was probably the worst game I ever played in my life," he said. "From Pop Warner, junior high and high school, that was my worst game ever. And I do mean ever. With 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter and K-State scored their last touchdown, I went and told the defense if y’all can just shut them out, I promise you we will win the ballgame. I went to the offensive line and I threw my mouthpiece about 80 yards and I said some harsh things to them. I said, 'Just give us a little time.' They gave me some time, and I dropped it. They gave it back to me on Sunday, but we came out with the victory."

The reason for the drop?

"I was trying to get somewhere," Williams said. "The ball was kind of behind me but I was relying on my arms to get that thing and keep running. On a regular day, I catch that one. But I was too excited and I just got through saying some things and I guess my adrenaline was going just a little too fast."

Roy’s drop, plus PR Nathan Vasher’s drop, plus RB Cedric Benson’s drop, plus the nearly disastrous goal line drop between QB Vince Young and C Jason Glynn were obviously overcome (in part) by clutch performances from less heralded players. But it’s been turnovers, combined with a non-existent ground game, that have proven fatal in this disturbing trend against Oklahoma.

If Roy were coaching, what would be his strategy for beating the Sooners?

"Throw it deep every once in a while," he said.

What was his assessment of how Texas A&M and Oklahoma State got those wins against the Evil Empire?

"Throw it deep," he repeated. "(OSU wideout) Rashaun Woods had a bunch of deep balls. A&M, every time they scored, it was on a deep ball. I think we threw it deep last year (against OU). I think with me hobbled with a hamstring and with (SE) Sloan (Thomas) hobbled with a hamstring, it was pretty tough."

Williams, of course, was severely limited from late September through late October after suffering an early-season hamstring pull in 2002. He sat out the Tulane game and then removed himself the following week in the nail biter against Oklahoma State.

"He said he was 90 percent, but he couldn’t run," head coach Mack Brown recalled. "In retrospect, I wish we hadn’t played him."

There’s already been some buzz among Orangebloods about how coaches are playing Williams this year. Personally, my opinion is that Roy could replace RB/PR Eric Metcalf (1985-89) as the most underutilized talent in Texas history. Granted, Williams didn’t need to be on the field as long as he did during some of those pre-season routes. But there were just 22 passes (10 completions) in 74 plays Saturday, barely grading above a Fred Akers’ offense, at least in terms of the type of two-dimensional (balanced) offense that coordinator Greg Davis is always talking about. Against the two ranked teams Texas has faced this season, the offense could not find Williams in the end zone for a TD grab.

Brown said coaches called for 10 deep balls against KSU (three resulted in sacks).

"Even though (Roy) touched it five times, we tried to get it to him another five during the game," Brown said. "Even when he is not touching it, he is affecting the other things that people do against us. He’s the guy right now that, when we go into a ballgame, that everybody talks about and everybody’s concerned about."

Brown has been quick to praise Williams for all that he has done away from the ball to contribute to the team this season. He commends Williams’ downfield blocking and the leadership role that he has assumed since the off-season.

"I guess when you turn down $10-to-$13 million and decide to come back, somewhere in that transition, he took a leadership role and stood up," Brown said. "He took some criticism when he said, ‘I haven’t always worked as hard but I’m going to now.’ He’s always worked hard, and he’s become one of the best workers on our team. He’s separated himself as a leader. He and Tillman Holloway are two guys that have stepped up on offense and are doing a great job of leading, but Roy is in the huddle of every special team, he’s in the huddle of our defense. He’s really amazed us by the way he’s stepped up."

Texas and Oklahoma tee off for the 98th time, 2:30 p.m., Saturday (ABC) at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.


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