September 28, 2011

Williams gets the call

Texas Tech coaches and fans knew something big was on the horizon for the Red Raider running game when Kenny Williams, Ronnie Daniels and DeAndre Washington sent in their National Letters of Intent this past February.

No one expected all three freshmen to play as true freshmen, however. Williams, the final of the three running backs to get a carry, shed his redshirt by playing Saturday in the 35-34 win against Nevada.

"It feels great to come in and be a big part of something," Williams said. "I think we're going to do a lot this year and I'm just glad to be a part of it… I think I bring a lot of power to this team. I'm deceptively speedy, people don't understand that if I get up the field I won't be caught. "

Williams is less than a year removed from about a 4,500-yard career as the star running back of Pflugerville Hendrickson High School.

"My career there was great," Williams said. "I had a lot of support, coaches were good, we had a good o-line to pick me up. I'm thankful for that.

"I'm having a great time here just adjusting to the speed of the game. The playbook is a little more complicated, but once you get it down it just starts flowing easy for you. I'm starting to know our playbook like the back of my hand."

Even with the three talented freshmen active, junior running back Eric Stephens will probably be the lead back for the Red Raiders through the remainder of his career. The freshmen will supplement Stephens while preparing to take a similar role as his come the 2013 season.

Williams said there is definitely a friendly rivalry between the three freshmen backs as they try to get themselves established within the program.

"DeAndre is fast, a really fast guy," Williams said. "Ronnie, like me, brings a lot of power. We all get along very well and it's always a competition in practice. Of course there's a competitive nature between us though. We're all freshmen running backs, we all want to get that playing time.

"On the field we're competitors when it comes down to it, but off the field we're all cool guys."

Up until last week, it appeared Williams was the farthest running back away from seeing the field as a true freshman. It wasn't a talent issue, it was the fact Williams possesses a skillset too similar to Stephens to justify burning Williams' first year of eligibility when Stephens was capable of doing the job on his own.

The original thought process, , to the disappointment of head coach Tommy Tuberville , was Daniels and Washington could change the pace Stephens sets with his average of 20.3 carries a game.

However, in the original plan, senior running back Aaron Crawford was supposed to play a bigger role than he is, battling injuries for a fourth-consecutive season. Meanwhile, Daniels is suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules and that left a gap big enough to pencil Williams into the running back rotation.

"Coach Tuberville has been wanting to play me from the beginning," Williams said. "So it just came to an agreement to pull the redshirt off. Playing, I was for it. Redshirting, I was for it. I think if I would have stayed a redshirt I just would have gotten better as an overall player in time but nothing beats getting experience on the field."

Williams got his number called twice in the Nevada game and hopes there are more plays for him in future games this season.

"I was a little disappointed but then again it's all about team effort," Williams said. "The game was close, I expected coach would play me more. But when the game's tight and it's my first game of my career, I understood.

"I just want the opportunity for the next four years to be the best player I can be. Try to break some records."

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