Texas Is 'Hitch'-Ing Its Hopes On Williams

Not to belabor the point, but is there any doubt that SE <B>Roy Williams&#146; </B>full recovery from his hamstring injury is going to make nearly all the difference in Texas&#146; ability to outscore the high-flying Texas Tech offense Saturday, frustrating the suddenly confident Texas A&amp;M defense, and in posting a &#145;W&#146; in whatever BCS Bowl the Longhorns end up?

"Roy’s played better than I’ve ever seen him play these past two weeks," head coach Mack Brown said Monday. "He’s back on track."

After injuring a hamstring against Houston September 21, Brown did not pronounce Williams fully recovered until his Nov. 2 game at Nebraska. In the past two weeks, the Biletnikoff Award Semifinalist (nation’s outstanding receiver) has registered 333 yards on 21 catches and three touchdowns. As such, Williams is the team’s Darrell K. Royal Offensive Player of the Week for the second straight week.

Nebraska’s game plan was not to let Texas’ running game beat them (given the rushing output the previous week against Iowa State, and the fact that Williams and SE Sloan Thomas were nursing hamstring injuries).

"I would have done the same thing given the information that they had," Brown said.

In response, Williams torched the Children of the Corn for a season-best 161 yards on a school record 13 receptions and two touchdowns. The Huskers even assigned their best defender (DeJuan Groce) to Williams as the game wore on but to no avail as QB Chris Simms rolled up a school record 419 passing yards.

Texas’ most effective offensive play all season has been the simple hatch pass to Williams.

"On the first play of the game Saturday, he catches a 2-yard pass and turns it into seven, " Brown said. "A hitch (pass) to him is a 12-yard gain. It’s not like a hitch at all. In fact, my brother (UAB Coach Watson Brown) was watching us on film and he saw where Roy caught a hitch against Houston, made five (defenders) miss him, fall down and break their ankles and runs it in for a touchdown. (Watson) called and said, ‘We don’t have that kind of hitch. That’s a different hitch for you all than it is for us.’"

It’s the same kind of hitch, but there’s a catch: the man catching the ball. He simply isn’t human.

The 6-4, 210-pound junior tied Mike Adams' 1993 school record for career 100-yard receiving games (9) with 172 yards on eight grabs against Baylor. Williams also holds the UT record for career touchdown receptions (21) and the school record for catching at least one pass in consecutive contests (31). For his career, Williams is averaging 15.5 yards every time he touches the ball.

"All of our receivers are good, but his height and his reach is such that on smaller cornerbacks he’s very difficult to cover," Brown said. "If you put one (defender) on him, he’s going to win. When he’s been healthy, it’s what he’s done. During the three games he wasn’t healthy (Tulane, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma) we weren’t nearly as good."

Horns Digest Top Stories