Texas freshman Roy Williams a ``legend in the making''?

Tuesday, October 3rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Freshman receiver Roy Williams needed just a few days to make an impact at Texas.

After one of the Longhorns' first practices in August, a local newspaper columnist dubbed him a ``legend in the making.'' The legend tag caught on quickly, and since then, Williams has played himself into the school record book and created expectations of a superstar career.

In Texas' 42-7 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday, Williams set a Longhorns freshman record with 175 yards on five catches and matched the second-longest play from scrimmage with a 96-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

``Without much experience, he played outstanding on Saturday,'' Texas coach Mack Brown said. ``I thought he came a million miles since the season started.''

The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Williams leads Texas with 318 yards on 13 catches, with two touchdowns.

That means he'll be a marked man when No. 11 Texas (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) plays No. 10 Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0) on Saturday in one of the region's most bitter rivalries.

Williams shrugs off the rivalry as if it didn't matter. Asked if he understands the history and emotion behind the game, which evenly divides the 75,000-seat Cotton Bowl at the 50-yard line, Williams says it's probably a lot like the annual West Texas rivalry between his high school, Odessa Permian, and Midland Lee.

``It's the same thing, just not as many people,'' Williams said. ``My teammates just told me to get ready.''

He doesn't even know much about the Sooners and their passing offense, which leads the Big 12 with 325 yards per game.

``Do they still throw the ball?'' Williams asked.

Statements like that draw a chuckle from Williams' coaches and teammates. Williams was at the game last year when Texas rallied from a 17-0 deficit to win 38-28. He said the victory helped with his decision to become a Longhorn.

``Everybody has a different motor they play with. Roy doesn't seem to worry that much,'' Brown said.

``Roy's a different sort of dude,'' senior tailback Hodges Mitchell said. ``If you stopped him on the street, you might not even know he plays football.''

Williams' numbers have been gaudy, but his personality is decidedly low-profile at Texas. Unlike his high school days when he wore fuzzy gorilla slippers around the state track meet, the collegiate Williams makes a statement with his big-play ability.

A gifted athlete who won the state long jump with a record leap of 25 feet, six inches, Williams also placed second in the high jump at 6-10. He was favored to win the 100 meters, but finished third at 10.48 seconds.

The leaping ability helped him to a diving, 40-yard catch in Texas' first game of the season against Louisiana-Lafayette. The speed allowed him to blow by the Oklahoma State secondary for his long touchdown.

Williams says he's never been caught from behind.

``I won't say I never will. Let's just say the chances are slim,'' he said.

But just when he had the chance to make himself truly a Texas legend, he faltered.

In the first half against Oklahoma State, Williams caught a long pass on the sideline before stepping out of bounds at the 3. He was headed straight for the Longhorns mascot, Bevo, a real farm animal with horns and all.

``I told people if I scored close to him, I'd jump on him,'' Williams said. ``He stood up real fast and I got scared and turned around.''